Michael Cooper is a visionary. 

With a football program under the microscope, a basketball program in the hot seat, and an athletic department approaching a date with an NCAA panel as lenient as the Spanish Inquisition, some might think that the last thing USC needs is a tactless woman’s basketball coach mouthing off in front of the associated press. 

But Michael Cooper knows that any publicity is good publicity, and Michael Cooper is just the man to get it.

Sure, maybe while the NCAA judicial committee is offering them a blindfold and a cigarette USC coaches and athletic directors should be looking for a place to hide.  But who better to momentarily take the spotlight away from the O.J. Mayo investigation, Reggie Bush saga, Lane Kiffin fiasco, Pete Carroll escape, and Mike Garrett trial – and place it squarely on what seems like the only USC program without a rap sheet – than head coach Mike Cooper.

So, naturally, Coach Cooper, following a 70-63 regular season victory over rival UCLA , began the post-game press conference with the hara-kiri of openers: “my opening statement is f--- UCLA.”   

Yeah, Cooper’s oratory masterpiece may have overshadowed his team’s victory, and maybe the press overlooked the Trojans then 4-1 Pac-10 record and second place ranking (Cooper certainly did).  But at least now Cooper is getting the publicity he really deserves. 

                   So much publicity, in fact, that Cooper felt obliged to send Bruin Coach Nikki Caldwell a written apology for the “inappropriate comment I made after our game Sunday night.”  Caldwell was so overwhelmed by the sincerity of the letter that she has refused comment. 

 Thanks to Cooper, the rematch with UCLA next season should attract some more publicity for the girls and for the athletic department.  And come the results of USC's NCAA hearing , you can bet the NCAA committee will have a strong opening statement of their own.


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