A Family Affair of Sun Devil Leadership


Jeff and Melodee Cooley hold leadership in high regard when thinking about the future success of the community and student-athletes at Arizona State. Through their own communal leadership and dedication to Sun Devil success, the Cooley family established the Cooley Scholarship Endowment.

“Our vision [for the endowment] is that it will give student-athletes an opportunity to obtain an education and become better individuals by serving others,” the Cooley’s said. “Leadership begins with service to others, and a good leader is only as good as his best servant. It will help them become a better player and team member, and as they elevate themselves the whole team is elevated.”

Jeff was born and raised in Mesa, Ariz. and after attending a different school his freshman year of college, decided to return to Arizona State because of the connection he had to the Valley. Melodee received her teaching degree after moving from Mexico to live with her sister. As alums from Arizona State, Jeff and Melodee purchased their first season tickets to the football and basketball teams in 1970.

“When we began to have children we took them to all of the games,” Jeff and Melodee said. “To this day, we all still attend the football and basketball games together. Arizona State and its sports programs make up a lot of our family activity. For that reason, we feel very connected to the school and can say that Arizona State is a family affair.”

However, Jeff and Melodee are not the only Cooley’s to feel compelled to give back to the community.

“My parents gave an endowment at the Arizona State Polytechnic campus called the Eldon W. & Elona P. Cooley Leadership Endowment,” Jeff said. “Because of the enjoyment our family has received over the years from Sun Devil Athletics, we decided to give a scholarship endowment to the football program.”

With a long family history of giving, Jeff and Melodee believe developing good leaders within the community is very important. The Cooley’s donation to Sun Devil Football will help current and future student-athletes continue to be strong leaders in their community on and off the field.  

“Arizona State has always had good quality athletes who are good students,” the Cooley’s said. “We felt compelled to do what we could to help them in their pursuit of a good education along with helping them to develop into good leaders and citizens in our communities.”

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