Cooper and Davies speak to being “Utah Built” ahead of Dallas matchup
HERRIMAN, Utah — Utah Warriors assistant coach Shaun Davies is a native South African, but has found the state of Utah a more-than-adequate home for himself since arriving in Provo almost 15 years ago.
As the Warriors prepare to take on the Dallas Jackals this Saturday, the team kicked off its Utah Built campaign and few within the organization can speak better to that campaign than Davies.
The state of Utah was an unknown for the now Warriors assistant coach when he arrived at BYU back in 2008. But he’s remained here since, having played a big role in the Cougars’ national championship run before moving on to involve himself with USA rugby and the further development of professional rugby within the states.
Utah is now the place he calls home and has grown grateful for all of it.
“I absolutely love it. I love everything about Utah,” Davies said. “I love the way it’s changing and the direction it’s going, and I think that’s what the Warriors are. We have to keep changing and to keep up with the times, and I think we’re doing a good job of that, and it’s all based on hard work.”
As for Utah Warriors head coach Greg Cooper, he’s still within his first year living in the state after arriving from Japan. The native New Zealander has grasped on diligently to what the state offers, however, and is mindful to leave his mark during his time coaching for the Warriors.
“When my time is up, I want to come back to Zions Bank Stadium, or wherever the stadium may be in the future, and say that I’ve been a part of that,” Cooper said. “…you need to want to be a positive part of the history, because it’s all going to be history one day…and you do that by doing your part now.”
Cooper has worked to embrace Utah’s history and learn as much as he can about it.
“I think wherever you go, you need to be part of the fabric of where you are,” Cooper said. “One day I’ll leave Utah, but I’m part of Utah history now, and that to me is really, really important.”
As for making history, the Warriors now turn toward the final six games of the MLR season with its 6-4 record, which places them squarely in fourth place in the Western Conference with just three spaces available for the playoffs. Sure, it will be a climb with little margin of error to catch those in front of them, although Warrior coaches and players believe it’s entirely possible.
“We know all the components are there, we just have to add all those components to the field,” Cooper said. “…We believe that when we put all those components together that we’re capable of winning all our games, but we have to take care of Dallas first.”
As for Dallas, it’s struggled to a 1-10 mark on the season, but showed enough versus Utah in a 33-25 loss during the second week of the season to keep Cooper’s attention at the task at hand this Saturday. Cooper believes keeping a positive mindset will play key in the matchup, a factor that worked against the Warriors in their 36-22 loss to Old Glory DC two games ago.
“It was an attitude issue, so we’ve been focusing on that very heavily,” Cooper said. “Attitude was great (against San Diego), but it wasn’t against Old Glory, so we’ve looked at that and our attitude has to be better.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. DALLAS JACKALS
DATE: SATURDAY, MAY 13
TIME: 4:00 PM MT
WHERE: CHOCTAW STADIUM, ARLINGTON, TX.
BROADCAST: KMYU, TRN, 92.1 KOOL FM, ESPN960, ESPN700, KSLSPORTS.COM
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