Report: Cooper to assist Arkansas football

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Monday, January 8, 2018
Florida International interim coach Ron Cooper applauds as he walks off the field after the team's NCAA college football game against Marshall, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Miami. Florida International won 31-14. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Florida International interim coach Ron Cooper applauds as he walks off the field after the team's NCAA college football game against Marshall, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Miami. Florida International won 31-14. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Former Louisville head coach Ron Cooper is expected to be named a defensive assistant coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks according to FootballScoop.com. The website, citing unnamed sources, wrote Sunday that Cooper would be brought on board by John Chavis, who has been widely reported as the leading candidate to be named defensive coordinator for new Coach Chad Morris' first staff.

Cooper, 55, spent 2017 as defensive backs coach for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M after three seasons as Florida International that culminated with his role as interim head coach in 2016. He compiled a 4-4 record in the interim role after Ron Turner's firing that season. Cooper is a native of Huntsville, Ala., who graduated from Jacksonville (Ala.) State. He compiled a 9-13 record as head coach at Eastern Michigan (1993-94), a 13-20 record at Louisville (1995-97), and a 22-23 record at Alabama A&M (1998-2001), where he won the SWAC Eastern Division title in 2000.

Cooper has worked at four previous SEC schools, as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2003, in multiple roles on defense at South Carolina (2004-2008) and defensive backs coach at LSU (2009-11) prior to his time at Texas A&M.

Steve Caldwell, a three-year Arkansas assistant coach under Bobby Petrino is also expected to join Morris' first staff. John Scott Jr., the defensive line coach last season at Arkansas, is also in position to be retained, according to sources close to the program.

None of Morris' assistant coaches have been formally announced. However, former Arkansas quarterback Barry Lunney Jr., and former SMU assistants Joe Craddock, Jeff Traylor, Dustin Fry and Justin Stepp have Twitter accounts reflecting their positions at Arkansas, including an associate head coach designation for Traylor.

FBS schools can begin hiring a 10th full-time assistant coach for the first time on Tuesday.

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