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."
In six seasons at Providence College, Cooley has posted a 123-80 mark (.606). In 11 seasons as a head coach, Cooley has a 215-149 (.591) record. When Cooley was hired in 2011, the Friars had finished under .500 in six of the 10 previous seasons and had been to just one NCAA Tournament (2004) in that 10-year span. Since his hiring, Cooley has led the Friars to five consecutive post-season tournament berths, including a school-record four straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2014-17), and he guided the team to 2014 BIG EAST title.
The 2016-17 season proved to be another successful season for the Friars under Cooley. The team was picked ninth in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches' Poll after losing stars Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil to the NBA Draft. However, the Friars finished the year with a 10-8 mark in league play and in third place in the conference standings. To achieve that mark, the team overcame a 4-8 record in early February and won its final six BIG EAST Conference games to earn the third place finish. The Friars also posted a 20-13 record overall and earned an at-large berth to the squad's fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament. It marked the first time ever the Friars had advanced to four straight NCAA Tournament. The Friars also registered four consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins for the first time since 1975-78. In recognition of his efforts, Cooley was named NABC District 5 Coach of the Year.
Juniors Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock were named 2017 Second Team All-BIG EAST. In addition, Cartwright became the third player in six seasons under Cooley to earn BIG EAST Most Improved accolades.
During his time at Providence, Cooley has coached five All-Americans. He also has had players earn two BIG EAST Player of Year honors, two BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year accolades, three BIG EAST Most Improved Player awards, one BIG EAST Tournament MVP, three BIG EAST All-Tournament Team accolades, and nine All-BIG EAST honors.
In 2016, Cooley led the Friars to a 24-11 mark and a 10-8 record (fourth) in the BIG EAST in 2015-16. After finishing fourth in league standings for the third straight season, Providence advanced to the BIG EAST Semifinals for the third-consecutive year, which has only occurred one other time in the history of Friar basketball. Most importantly, the Friars earned their third-consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, where the team registered a 1-1 mark, which included a First Round win over Southern California. It marked just the third time in the history of Friar basketball that the team reached the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons. The squad also recorded 24 wins, which is the most since the 1996-97 season. With 24 wins, the Friars posted their third-consecutive season with 20 or more victories. Another milestone for the Friars was that they finished the regular season with 22 wins, which was the most since 1978 and just the sixth team all-time at PC to accomplish the feat. Cooley's Friars also were ranked for 13 weeks during the season, including a No. 8 national ranking on January 4. It marked the Friars' highest ranking in the Associated Press Poll since March 1, 1977 when the team was ranked No. 8.
Two of Cooley's players earned significant honors in 2015-16 and were both drafted as junior guard Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) and sophomore Ben Bentil (Wilmington, Del.) earned All-BIG EAST accolades. Dunn also earned his second-consecutive BIG EAST Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also earned numerous All-America accolades and was named a Consensus All-American. Bentil became the seventh Friar all-time and the third under Cooley to lead the BIG EAST in scoring, averaging 22.9 points per game. For his efforts, he was named BIG EAST Most Improved Player - the second time a Friar has received the honor in Cooley's five seasons at Providence.
Dunn was the fifth pick overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and became the fourth highest Friar drafted all-time in the history of the NBA. Bentil was selected 51st overall in the second round by the Boston Celtics.. 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.
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