Cleo Cooper Has Traded Helmet for Hard Drives

by Monica Hoel
Cleo Cooper has made a big career shift – but he’s finding that his ties to Arena Football are helpful in the business sector.

Cleo Cooper “never ever” thought he’d be working in technology. “When I had any kind of trouble with my computer, I went straight to the E&H Computer Help desk! And now I work in technology!”

Cleo is a customer success manager for Cisco, and loves the work. He laughs about how his former career helps him to be successful now even though the fields are worlds apart.

After finishing his degree at Emory & Henry, Cleo played professional Arena Football. A wide receiver, he started out with the Canadian Football League, but ended up playing for the American league team – specifically the Marion Blue Racers in Ohio. After two seasons, the Ohio team folded, and he then played for the Washington D.C. Valor.

However, he had a career-ending ankle break that took him out of the world of football, and he had friends in the I.T. industry who encouraged him to look at sales. They told him “people buy from who they like” – and his friends thought he would be a hit. They were right.

These days he spends a lot of time on Zoom calls with customers who notice a lot of interesting sports memorabilia on the shelves behind him. “Clients see all my Emory & Henry football paraphernal and they want to talk about sports. We’re supposed to be talking about I.T., but we’ll spend the first 20 minutes talking about football!”

Cleo also spends a lot of time doing work for his community. Basketball legend John Wall is a personal friend of Cleo’s, so when Cleo landed in Raleigh John recruited him to help with the service work done by the John Wall Family Foundation. Cleo loves the opportunity to serve the kids in his region, and is already looking forward to their next backpack hand out event.

You can enjoy a great conversation with Cleo Cooper on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1856-joel-vaughan-publishes-book-about-his-hometown-of"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg" alt=" Joel Vaughan Emory & Henry Class of 1983 " width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1296,1547/9875_image.rev.1622644196.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1296" data-max-h="1547" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1856-joel-vaughan-publishes-book-about-his-hometown-of">Joel Vaughan Publishes Book About His Hometown of Fries, Virginia, on the Banks of the New River</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Joel Vaughan has just published a book about a little town in Virginia that is the source of one of Southwest Virginia’s most popular jokes. Fries, Virginia, is pronounced “freeze” – but the joke is, “It’s <em>freeze</em> in the winter and <em>fries</em> in the summer.” <a href="/live/news/1856-joel-vaughan-publishes-book-about-his-hometown-of" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2281-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-jackson-arnold"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/11063_Carolyn_doss.rev.1648505296.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/11063_Carolyn_doss.rev.1648505296.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/11063_Carolyn_doss.rev.1648505296.jpg" alt=" Carolyn Foster Doss E&H Class of 1986 " width="345" height="225" data-max-w="300" data-max-h="400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2281-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-jackson-arnold">E&H Mass Comm Student Story: Jackson Arnold highlights a big award for Carolyn Foster Doss</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><em>This is part of a series of stories by members of the 2022 E&H Mass Comm 302 Class. </em><br/><br/>The first woman to score 1,000 points at Holston Highschool, has just been named Damascus Middle School teacher of the year. Carolyn Foster-Doss turns everything she touches into gold, elevating the Southwest Virginia community to great heights on and off the court. <a href="/live/news/2281-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-jackson-arnold" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2348-avery-smith-takes-a-big-step-in-his-opera-career"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg" alt="Avery Smith E&H Class of 2021" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,441,1785,2227/11291_IMG-9004.rev.1652729153.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1785" data-max-h="1786" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2348-avery-smith-takes-a-big-step-in-his-opera-career">Avery Smith Takes a Big Step in His Opera Career</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Avery Smith has been chosen for a world-class professional opera program that only accepted about 40 participants – from all over the world <a href="/live/news/2348-avery-smith-takes-a-big-step-in-his-opera-career" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1853-talena-cox-williams-is-headed-to-the-olympics"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.jpg" alt="Talena Cox Williams, Emory & Henry Class of 1995." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,846,806/9866_Talena_Williams.rev.1621875038.jpg 2x" data-max-w="806" data-max-h="806" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1853-talena-cox-williams-is-headed-to-the-olympics">Talena Cox Williams is Headed to the Olympics</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Talena Cox Williams has graduated….to the Olympics! <a href="/live/news/1853-talena-cox-williams-is-headed-to-the-olympics" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>