Tamu (Cooper) Santos was born and raised in New Haven. She entered Hillhouse High School in 1989 and played volleyball for four years. Her senior year she was named co-captain of the team. Tamu was selected to be on the All-District team and received the Hillhouse Intimidator Award. Also that year, Hillhouse qualified for the CIAC state tournament, but was eliminated in a 5 set match against Hand High School.
Tamu also participated in basketball, track and softball at Hillhouse. She received the New Haven Register Defensive player of the year award her senior year and was a Register Athlete of the Week. She also led the team to the semifinals in the Class L state championship. Tamu was a member of the state championship Class LL track team her senior year competing in the high jump. She graduated with honors in 1993 and received a full athletic scholarship to Temple University. Tamu was captain of Temple’s team her junior and senior years. An All-American volleyball player, she ranked as high as number two in the nation in hitting efficiency her junior year. As a junior, she also tried out for the Olympic volleyball team making it to the final cut. During her senior year she led Temple to win their first Atlantic Ten Championship. She also led them to their first NCAA tournament appearance.
Upon graduation from Temple in 1998 with a B.A. in Speech, Language and Hearing, Tamu turned pro in volleyball and played all over Europe. The tour competed in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. While competing, Tamu pursued a certificationin Sign Language studies. Upon returning to the US she played a season of basketball for the Community College of Philadelphia. There she was selected Most Valuable Player of the Wattignies Volleyball Club in Lille, France. She ranked in the Top five in hitting for the Professional “A” French League. At the end of the season, she signed to return, but later was forced to forfeit and end her professional career due to a knee injury. Tamu has coached at Bob Bertucci Volleyball Camps and clinics since 1996 for ages 5 to adult. In 2004 she ran her own camp for Career High School girls’ volleyball team. Most recently, Tamu played in the EBA (Eastern Basketball Alliance) semi pro league for two seasons (2004-5).
In March 2007 Tamu was inducted into the HIllhouse High School Hall of Fame.
She has worked as a speech therapist for the past seven years and is currently pursuing a Masters level certification in the field. In 2001 Tamu married Ngloa Santos. They have a son, Namumba, and a daughter, Nzinga.