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Sources: Long Island tabbing Alabama, Nick Saban staffer to head coaching post

Veteran coach Ron Cooper is taking over a Sharks program renewing its commitment to football success

Ron Cooper, a veteran coach with experience in both the NFL and at myriad Power 5 programs, including serving this season as a senior analyst on Nick Saban’s Alabama staff, will be named head coach at Long Island University, sources tell FootballScoop.

Long Island, a Football Championship Subdivision program that sources indicated to FootballScoop has strongly recommitted to athletics, finished off a 2-8 season in 2021 under interim coach Jonathan Gill. The Sharks were 2-5 in Northeast Conference play, a league that saw five of its eight teams post winning marks in conference play.

Under long-time head coach Bryan Collins, LIU won 8 or more games 10 times in 20 seasons before transitioning to division 1 status in the past few years. For the Sharks, the hiring of Cooper is a move that signals the school’s significant  commitment to building a championship level division 1 program.

Cooper, who will remain with the Crimson Tide through the College Football Playoff championship game Jan. 10 against Georgia, has worked a veritable Who’s Who of college football programs with stops at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Wisconsin, LSU, Texas A&M and this season at Alabama.

Additionally, Cooper spent a year in the NFL coaching the defensive backs at Tampa Bay.

A Huntsville, Alabama, native who played and graduated from Jacksonville State, Cooper first served as a coach at Eastern Michigan in the early 90s before becoming head coach at Louisville from '95-97 and then at Alabama A&M '98-01. 

Cooper, a former Mississippi State defensive coordinator, had an enduring run on staff at South Carolina with College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz. There, Cooper served in a variety of roles that included both defensive coordinator and assistant head coach through a five-season run that propelled him on to Les Miles’ LSU staff through three seasons ('09 - 11).

LIU, which this past season played its first three games up against Football Bowls Subdivision programs, is scheduled to open its 2022 campaign Sept. 3 at Mid-American Conference resident Toledo. 

Monday update> 

LIU has now announced this hire.