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 10 seasons at Providence College, Cooley has posted a 194-135 mark. In 15 seasons as a head coach, Cooley has a 286-204 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 led the Friars to seven consecutive post-season tournament berths from 2013-19 (2019-20 there was no post-season due to the Covid-19 pandemic), including a school-record five straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2014-18). He also guided the team to the 2014 BIG EAST title.
The 2020-21 squad posted a 13-13 mark and a 9-10 record in BIG EAST play. The team was led by Nate Watson and David Duke. Both players earned Second Team All-BIG EAST accolades. Duke also was named Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America.
In 2019-20, the Friars had the best mid-season improvement of any Division I team as the squad improved from 6-6 to finish the year with a 19-12 mark - a NET ranking improvement of 119 spots (156 to 37). The team posted a 12-6 record in BIG EAST action and finished in fourth place. The 12 league wins was the most ever by a Friar squad. In addition, the Friars defeated every BIG EAST team at least once - another first for the program. The Friars finished the season winning six consecutive games and eight of the last 10. Five of those wins occurred in February over ranked teams, which marked just the fifth time in the history of college basketball that a team posted five wins over ranked squads in a calendar month during the regular season.
In August of 2019, Cooley served as the Head Coach of Team USA at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. His squad was a group of BIG EAST All-Stars, including Alpha Diallo, Nate Watson, David Duke and AJ Reeves. Despite having the youngest team at the tournament, Cooley led the squad to a Bronze Medal.
In 2018-19, Providence advanced to its seventh consecutive post season when the Friars were selected to the NIT as a four seed. It marked the first time that PC advanced to seven straight post-seasons since Dave Gavitt's Friars accomplished the feat from 1971-78. The 2019 Friars finished the season with an 18-16 mark.
The 2017-18 season, proved to be another successful season for the Friars under Cooley as the squad made its team record fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and produced another season with 20 or more wins (21-14). It marked the first time the Friars recorded five consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins since 1974-78. Providence finished tied for third in league standings with a 10-8 mark. The team had another strong performance at the BIG EAST Tournament, advancing to the championship game were the squad nearly knocked off eventual national champion Villanova before losing in overtime. One of the highlights for the squad was earning three wins over top-5 ranked teams. It marked the first time ever that the Friars accomplished that feat.
In 2016-17, the Friars were 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. 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, five BIG EAST All-Tournament Team accolades, two BIG EAST All-Rookie Team awards, one BIG EAST Sportsmanship honor and 10 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. 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.
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.
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.
In addition to coaching the Pan Am Games team in 2019, Cooley has extensive experience with USA Basketball. 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. He was an assistant coach for the USA U19 Team at the World Championships in Greece in 2015. 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. 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, he was a three-time captain for the basketball team and was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. 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.
Full Name: Ed Cooley
Date of Birth: September 10, 1969
Place of Birth: Providence, R.I.
Family: Wife, Nurys; Daughter, Olivia; Son, Isaiah
High School: Central High School (R.I.) '88 New Hampton Prep. (N.H.) '89
College: Stonehill '94, Major - History
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