BATON ROUGE -- Ron Cooper, who has nine years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, has joined the LSU coaching staff and will serve as the Tigers’ secondary coach, Les Miles announced on Wednesday.
“Ron Cooper is going to bring a great deal of experience and coaching expertise to our secondary,” Miles said. “He’s been a head coach and a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level. He’s extremely qualified and he will do a great job of mentoring the players on our team.
“I’ve seen up close what he can do with a secondary having played South Carolina the past two years. He has great knowledge of defense, in particular the secondary. We are very excited about having him join our staff and look forward to the contributions he will make to our program.”
Cooper comes to LSU from South Carolina where he spent the past five years coaching on the defensive side of the football. As South Carolina’s safeties coach in 2008, Cooper assisted with a defense that ranked No. 1 in the SEC and No. 2 in the nation in pass defense allowing just 160 yards per game.
In addition to his role as safeties coach in 2008, Cooper’s other responsibilities during his stay at South Carolina included coaching the defensive backs in 2004, serving as the outside linebackers and special teams coordinator in 2005, and holding the position of secondary coach and assistant head coach in 2006 and 2007.
Prior to his stay in South Carolina, Cooper spent the 2003 season as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State and 2002 as the secondary coach at Wisconsin.
Cooper broke into the head coaching ranks in 1993 when Eastern Michigan hired the Huntsville, Ala., native. Cooper spent two seasons at Eastern Michigan, going 4-7 in 1993 and 5-6 in 1994.
Following two years at Eastern Michigan, Cooper was appointed as the head coach at Louisville, a position he held for three years from 1995-97. During his three years with the Cardinals, Cooper posted a 13-20 record, which included two wins over Kentucky and a victory over Michigan State.
Cooper’s 1995 Louisville team led the nation in turnovers forced and finished No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense. A year later, Louisville ranked No. 4 in the country in both total defense and rushing defense.
Alabama A&M hired Cooper as its head coach in 1998, a position he held through the 2001 season. Cooper guided Alabama A&M to the championship game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2000. His 2000 squad led the nation in rushing defense and they ranked No. 8 nationally in scoring defense.
Prior to becoming a head coach at Eastern Michigan, Cooper served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, helping the Irish to victories in the 1992 Sugar Bowl over No. 3 Florida and in the Cotton Bowl a year later against No. 4 Texas A&M.
Other coaching stops for Cooper include serving as the defensive coordinator at UNLV in 1990; assistant coach at East Carolina in 1989; defensive coordinator at Murray State in 1987-88; assistant coach at Austin Peay from 1985-86; graduate assistant at Minnesota in 1984 and a graduate assistant at Appalachian State in 1983.
Cooper has coached in six bowl games during his collegiate career, including appearances in the 2009 Outback Bowl, the 2006 Liberty Bowl and the 2005 Independence Bowl with South Carolina.
On the field, Cooper was a four-year letterwinner at Jacksonville (Ala.) State where he was a part of two Gulf South Conference championships in 1981 and 1982. Cooper also played in the NCAA Division II playoffs three times during his career, reaching the semifinal round in 1982.
Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State in 1983 and later received his master’s degree from Appalachian State in 1986.
Cooper and his wife, Djuna, have a daughter, Tyler, and two sons, Tristan and Ronald, Jr.
The Cooper File
Year at LSU: First (appointed Jan. 6, 2009)
Birthdate: Feb. 11, 1962 in Huntsville, Ala.
Children: Tristan, Tyler, Ronald, Jr.
College: Jacksonville State, ’83
1978-82 Jacksonville State
1983 Appalachian State (graduate assistant)
1984 Minnesota (graduate assistant)
1985-86 Austin Peay (assistant coach)
1987-88 Murray State (defensive coordinator)
1989 East Carolina (assistant coach)
1990 UNLV (defensive coordinator)
1991-92 Notre Dame (assistant coach)
1993-94 Eastern Michigan (head coach)
1995-97 Louisville (head coach)
1998-2001 Alabama A&M (head coach)
2002 Wisconsin (assistant coach)
2003 Mississippi State (defensive coordinator)
2004-08 South Carolina (defensive backs, 2004; outside linebackers/special teams coordinator, 2005; secondary/assistant head coach, 2006-07; safeties, 2008)
2009 LSU (secondary)
1992 Sugar Bowl (Notre Dame def. Florida, 39-28)
1993 Cotton Bowl (Notre Dame def. Texas A&M, 28-3)
2002 Alamo Bowl (Wisconsin def. Colorado, 31-28)
2005 Independence Bowl (South Carolina lost Missouri, 38-31)
2006 Liberty Bowl (South Carolina def. Houston, 44-36)
2009 Outback Bowl (South Carolina lost Iowa, 31-10)