CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern head football coach Mark Tucker has named Josh Cooper as the Buccaneers' new defensive line coach.
Cooper comes to CSU after spending the past season as a defensive assistant and defensive line coach at Ave Maria. Prior to Ave Maria, Cooper served three seasons as a defensive assistant at Duke University under head coach David Cutcliffe.
"(Josh) Cooper played football at the highest level in the nation and he brings a pedigree and an instant sense of respect to the program," said Tucker on Cooper joining the CSU football coaching staff. "He has been a part of some great football programs and has played for and coached under David Cutcliffe at Ole Miss and Duke. I'm excited about his enthusiasm and what he can bring to the table to help our players continue to be productive."
Cooper takes over a deep defensive line group anchored by one of the preeminent defensive players in the nation in reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Ellis.
Ellis earned Big South Defensive Player of the Year accolades after leading the league in sacks (7.0) and tackles-for-loss (16.0) to earn First Team honors on the defensive line. The junior was the second player in conference history to post two seven-sack seasons. The Apopka, Fla., native shined in league play as he totaled a league-best 9.5 TFL in five games (1.90 per game), and tied for the top spot with four sacks (one each against Monmouth, Presbyterian, Gardner-Webb, and Liberty). He also had 24 of his 45 stops against Big South foes, 15 of which were solo.
"He will bring a lot of energy to the program," Tucker said of Cooper's impact on the defensive line. "Our players will be able to draw from his experience at the highest levels and continue to work on their technique. We're looking forward to him working with a group that was incredibly productive and taking them to the next level."
Cooper, for his part, is ready to help the Bucs continue their success on the defensive side of the ball
"I wanted to be in a place where there's a great culture, great family atmosphere, and it also spiritually felt right for me and my family," said Cooper about Charleston Southern. "That was the draw for me here. There are a lot of great young men here and CSU has been very successful in doing a lot of great things. CSU has been very successful doing a lot of great things. I look forward to trying to take them to another level and helping our players reach the goals they haven't achieved yet. We'll go out and compete every day and make sure our team puts the best foot forward every time they step on the field."
During Cooper's three seasons at Duke, the Blue Devil football team played in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game in 2013. The Blue Devils made appearances in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (2013), the Sun Bowl (2014), and the Pinstripe Bowl (2015) during Cooper's time at Duke. He also spent time in 2015 as a Bill Walsh Minority Intern with the Atlanta Falcons, where he worked with the defensive line.
Prior to his time at Duke, he was the defensive line coach and assistant strength coach at Hamden-Sydney University (Va.) for one season.
Cooper began coaching at the conclusion of his playing career, which included seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints. As a member of the Saints, he played in the NFC Championship Game during the 2006 season.
He also helped the Frankfurt Galaxy win the NFL Europe Championship, tying the World Bowl's sack record.
During his playing career at Ole Miss, Cooper played in four bowl games and was named the Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP in 2004.
Cooper and his wife Kristen have three sons, Joshua, Brendan, and Christian.