Achieving a lifelong dream isn't just given. It's earned. And that’s exactly what former Guntersville Wildcat Cooper Self has done.
On Tuesday, Self signed a scholarship with Auburn University to play baseball for the Tigers and continue his college education. The past two season, Self has played for the Snead State baseball team. Playing baseball and going to school at Auburn is something he’s dreamed about for most of his life.
“I grew up an Auburn fan, my parents are Auburn grads and Auburn has everything I want in a school,” he said. “It’s just an honor and a dream come true. I had been talking with the coaches at Auburn for the last three weeks. They decided to give me a spot on the team and I said, ‘War Eagle. Let’s do it.’”
Self had quite a season at Snead in 2020-2021 at the plate. The Parsons just finished up the season in the playoffs with a record of 34-15. Self batted .403 this season with nine homeruns and had 45 RBI's in 129 at bats.
Snead baseball coach Casey Underwood said he isn’t surprised that Self is getting this opportunity.
“Cooper can absolutely hit the ball,” he said. “He’s a natural hitter and he’s gotten better and better each year. He came from a great program at Guntersville under Coach Kenny Chaffin so he already had a good foundation. Cooper has really figured out his swing and has a great approach at the plate.”
Underwood has been the head coach at Snead for the past three seasons. He said helping players get to the next level on and off the field is the goal.
“Our job is to make sure these guys have the best opportunity to succeed and get them to the next level,” he said. “We had a really good group of guys this year and Cooper was one of the most important leaders we had on the team. His goal was to play at Auburn. He didn’t just sit around and wait on it. He went and earned it in the classroom and on the field. He’s a special guy and comes from a great family. We couldn’t be happier for him.”
Self has enjoyed quite a bit of success while playing at Snead. His numbers at the plate speak for themselves but Self is quick to note that baseball in the Southeastern Conference is a big change.
“It’s going to be a very big jump for me,” he said. “I’m going to have to work even harder and get stronger if I’m going to succeed at Auburn. I really feel like Coach Underwood has helped me develop my swing so much. As a hitter at the SEC level, you’ve got to be able to work yourself out of a hitting funk because funks will happen. I feel like I learned how to fix my swing on my own these past few seasons.”
Self said the coaches at Auburn expect him to compete to get on the field when he arrives as a junior. He’ll move to the Plains to begin the next phase of college career in the fall. As of now, Self said he’ll play a utility role on the field for the Tigers.
“Going to Snead was the best decision I made to begin with,” Self said. “The coaches at Guntersville were great and did an awesome job getting me ready to play at Snead. My coaches at Snead have worked hard to get me this opportunity to play at Auburn. I’m just so thankful and excited. I cant wait to get to Auburn and be a part of that team and school.”