On March 22, 2011, Ed Cooley became the 15th head coach at Providence College. He came to Providence College after spending five seasons as the head coach at Fairfield University. "When Bob and I sat down with Mike Tranghese and we talked about what we were looking for in our next coach, we quickly agreed that the No. 1 candidate for Providence College is Ed Cooley," Providence College President Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P. said. "I wanted a coach that could teach our players about the game of life. I also wanted a relationship builder and Ed is a relationship builder. He will connect with our players, our fans and the entire state of Rhode Island. I could not be more thrilled to have Ed Cooley as our basketball coach."
Now in his 10th season as a head coach, Cooley has posted an impressive 171-125 mark (.578). In the last two seasons, he has guided the Friars to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2014 and 2015). He also led the team to the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament title.
In each of Cooley's nine seasons as a head coach his teams have shown improvement, which is a tribute to his ability to recruit and build a program.
In 2015, the Friars were picked fifth in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches Poll. The team exceeded expectations when the squad placed fourth with an 11-7 record. It marked just the third time ever and the first time since 2004 that the Friars registered 11 conference wins. Overall, the squad posted a 22-12 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. The team also posted its second consecutive season with 20 or more wins for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.
Senior LaDontae Henton (Lansing, Mich.) and sophomore Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) paced the Friars in 2015. Both players earned First Team All-BIG EAST honors and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America accolades. Dunn, who led the BIG EAST in assists, ranked third in the nation in assists and fifth in the nation in steals. He was named the 2015 BIG EAST Player of the Year and he also earned BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Dunn became the first guard in the history of the league to win both honors in the same year. Henton, who led the BIG EAST in scoring in 2015 (20.1 ppg), finished his career ranked second all-time in scoring at Providence (2,059 points) and fifth all-time in rebounding (1,054). He is just the second player ever at Providence to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.
Cooley's 2014 team was picked to finish sixth in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches Poll, but overcame losses of personnel during the season to finish 10-8 and fourth overall. The Friars went on a run in the league tournament, posting three straight wins, including a thrilling 65-58 victory over No. 14 Creighton in title game. With the win, the Friars earned the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and made their first trip to the Tournament since 2004.
His 2014 squad was led by senior All-American Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.). Cotton had an amazing senior season in which he led the BIG EAST in assists (5.8) and finished second in scoring (21.8). He also led the nation in minutes played (39.9). He earned BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors and garnered his second consecutive First Team All-BIG EAST accolade. He finished his career ranked fifth overall in scoring at Providence with 1,975 points. His teammate, senior Kadeem Batts (Boston, Mass.) also was recognized for his stellar play as he was named All-BIG EAST Second Team.
It did not take long for Cooley to turn the Friar fortunes around. In his second season, he led the Friars to a 19-15 record overall and a 9-9 mark in league play. Included in the 9-9 BIG EAST record in 2012-13 was a 7-2 mark over the last nine games of the conference season. That impressive record marked the second best turnaround over the second half of the season in BIG EAST history. He then guided the Friars to the NIT where the squad posted a 2-0 record before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual NIT Champion Baylor. Leading the way for the Friars in the 2012-13 season were Cotton and Batts. Cotton was named All-BIG EAST First Team after he led the league in scoring. His teammate, Batts was recognized as a co-winner of the league's Most Improved Award and earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention accolades.
In his first season at Providence, Cooley led the Friars to a 15-17 mark overall. The team posted an impressive 11-3 mark in non-conference action, which included an 8-0 record at home. In league action, the Friars defeated No. 14/15 Louisville, 90-59. The 31-point win marked the Friars' largest margin of victory ever over a ranked team. The squad also posted a 72-70 win over defending national champion Connecticut.
Two of Cooley's players earned BIG EAST honors in his first season. Point guard Vincent Council was named All-BIG EAST Third Team and one of his first recruits, forward LaDontae Henton earned BIG EAST All-Rookie Team accolades.
Cooley also has been involved with USA Basketball the last three years. In 2013, he served as a court coach during the USA U19 Training Camp for the World Championships. In 2014, Cooley served as an assistant coach for the USA U18 Team which captured a Gold Medal at the FIBA Americas Championship. Most recently, he was an assistant coach for the USA U19 Team at the World Championships in Greece. Cooley helped the team win a Gold Medal, his second in as many years.
Prior to coming to Providence, Cooley guided Fairfield to a school-record 25 wins and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season title in 2010-11. He was named the 2011 MAAC Coach of the Year. He also earned United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District I Coach of the Year honors. His 2011 squad finished the season with a 25-8 mark (15-3 MAAC) and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
In five seasons at Fairfield, Cooley's teams posted a 92-69 mark, including a 58-32 record in MAAC action. Cooley became the first Fairfield head coach to guide the team to a .500 or better mark in MAAC action in each of his first five seasons. In 2009-10, he led the Stags to a 23-11 mark and the team's first post-season berth since 2003. In that win, Fairfield set a NCAA Division I post-season record as the team overcame a 27-point, second-half deficit to defeat George Mason in overtime. For his efforts in 2010, Cooley was the first recipient of the Ben Jobe Award, presented annually to the top minority men's basketball coach in the nation. Prior to taking the Fairfield position, Cooley spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach for Al Skinner. He coached for one season at Rhode Island under Skinner (1996-97) and nine seasons as an assistant at Boston College (1997-06), where the Eagles posted a 175-108 mark and advanced to five NCAA Tournaments and one NIT. Cooley also helped lead the Eagles to the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament title and three BIG EAST regular season titles (2001, 2003 and 2005). In 2004-05, Boston College started the season with a school-record 20 consecutive wins. In 2005-06, the Eagles advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Duke. At BC, Cooley was instrumental in the recruitment of Troy Bell, a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year. Bell also went on to play professional basketball after leaving Boston College, which included a stint in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies.
A 1994 graduate of Stonehill College, where he was a three-time captain for the basketball team, Cooley began his coaching career at UMass-Dartmouth. He helped lead UMass-Dartmouth to a 25-4 mark and a No. 3 national ranking (1994-95). He returned to his alma mater, Stonehill, and served as an assistant coach for one season (1995-96) before joining Skinner's staff at URI. Cooley, a native of Providence, attended Central High School and earned two Rhode Island High School Player of the Year honors. He also did a post-graduate year (1988-89) at New Hampton Prep. before attending Stonehill. He and his wife, Nurys, have one daughter, Olivia, and one son, Isaiah.
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