By BEN JOHNSON
Charlie Cooper resigned Monday as Tahlequah's head football coach and athletic director. The winningest coach in the football program's history — in his second stint as the Tigers' coach — citied health issues as his reason for stepping down.
"I told them (district administration) when I got into this, I'd had some issues with my back," Cooper said. "And in order for me to function on game nights, I have to take some pain pills. And I'm not going to spend my life on pain pills."
In Cooper's absence, Brad Gilbert, the Tigers' defensive coordinator, will take over on an interim basis.
During Cooper's first stint as Tahlequah's head coach, the Tigers were 93-56 from 1980 to 1992. Cooper's all-time record at Tahlequah is now 97-67 after a 2-10 season in 2010 and a 2-1 start to the 2011 campaign.
Gilbert will make his debut as the Tigers' new head coach on Friday night at home against Tulsa Central.
For more on Cooper's resignation, see Tuesday's Tahlequah Daily Press.