Friday, January 11, 2013

Tampa Bucs DB coach Ron Cooper joins Taggart at USF

Ron Cooper has left the Tampa Bay Bucs to become Willie Taggart's assistant head coach at the University of South Florida.

Cooper will also coach the USF defensive backs. He was the defensive backs coach for Tampa this past season and served in the same capacity at LSU three years prior. In 2011 he coached Morris Claiborne, the first cornerback selected in last year's NFL draft.

Cooper brings 30 years of coaching experience including two different stints as a defensive coordinator and three as a head coach on the collegiate level.

“Ron Cooper is a valuable addition to our staff,” Taggart said. “His experience will be a huge asset in his role as assistant head coach. In addition, he has recently worked with some of the top secondaries and defensive backs in college football, which will serve us greatly both on the field and in recruiting.”

Cooper spent three seasons (2009-11) as LSU’s secondary coach. Under his tutelage Claiborne and fellow cornerback Patrick Peterson won the Thorpe Award, which goes to best defensive back in college football. Those two along with Tyrann Mathieu were consensus All-Americans 
In 2011, Claiborne (Coaches) and Mathieu (AP) each earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.  Peterson earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 before being selected fifth overall in the '10 NFL Draft.
 Cooper was head coach of Louisville ('95-'97). His '95 team led the nation in takeaways and finished No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense. The following season, the Cardinals ranked No. 4 in the country in both total defense and rushing defense.
The Tampa Bay Bucs ranked  last in pass defense in 2012. It was beset with injuries and its two top cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Eric Wright were suspended for four games each because they violated the league's substance abuse policies. Talib was subsequently traded and Wright is not expected to return next season. Their fill-ins were mostly undrafted free agents and late round draft choices that were considered well below NFL standards for cornerbacks.
Cooper earned his bachelor's degree from Jacksonville State in 1983 and later received his master's degree from Appalachian State in 1986. He and his wife, Djuna, have a daughter, Tyler, and two sons, Tristan and Ronald, Jr.

Coaching Experience
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 Head 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: South Carolina (Defensive Backs)
2005: South Carolina (Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator)
2006-07: South Carolina (Assistant Head Coach/Secondary)
2008: South Carolina (Safeties)
2009-11: LSU (Secondary)
2012: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Defensive Backs)

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