Former Scrapper named head coach at Delta State
CLEVELAND, Miss. – Former Nashville Scrapper quarterback Todd Cooley has been named the 19th head coach at Delta State University.
Cooley was introduced to the campus and community at a Monday morning press conference inside the Simmons Room of the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House.
He takes a high-octane system to Delta State after serving as offensive coordinator at Northwestern Louisiana State University from 2009-12, the University of Central Arkansas from 2005-08, and Arkansas Tech in 2004.
Cooley, 37, is the son of Don and Lynne Cooley of Nashville.
A 1994 honor graduate of Nashville High School, Cooley was an All-State passer for Coach Billy Laird. During his senior season, Cooley led the Scrappers to the state championship game at War Memorial Stadium for the first time in school history. He broke the Arkansas single-season passing record at the time by throwing for more than 2,300 yards. He is thought to be the first former Scrapper to become head coach at a Division II school.
“Confidence was the first thing that jumped out to me when I met Todd in 1992,” Laird said Tuesday morning. “Competitor was another trait that I saw in Todd. He has never lost these two qualities. He was a student of the game even in high school. His ability to know where to throw the football along with a strong and accurate arm allowed him to get a state record in 1993. I have followed Todd’s coaching career very closely, particularly while coaching at Northwestern State with my son Brad. His work habits and knowledge will make him a successful head coach.”
Cooley attended Arkansas Tech University at Russellville, where he set 13 school records at quarterback in 1996-97. He was a finalist for the 1997 Harlon Hill Trophy presented to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division II. He was also Academic All-Gulf South Conference in 1997 and was named to the Daktronics All-Region Team in 1997.
Cooley was running backs coach in 1998-99 at Arkansas Tech, helping the Wonder Boys win the 1999 Gulf South Conference championship. Cooley served as quarterbacks and receivers coach in 2000 at Northeastern Oklahoma for a Lone Star Conference championship team that reached the NCAA Division II playoffs.
From 2001-03, Cooley was quarterbacks coach at Ouachita Baptist University under head coach Todd Knight, who is a former Delta State coach.
“Coach Cooley will bring an amazing level of passion and energy to the Delta State University program. He’s a player’s coach, an accomplished recruiter and his knowledge of the game is outstanding. Coach Cooley will produce a fun and exciting brand of football while embracing the traditions of Delta State and Statesmen football. He was a valuable member of my staff here at OBU, and he will be a great asset to DSU,” Knight said.
Cooley spent one season as offensive coordinator at Arkansas Tech, and in 2004 he restructured the Wonder Boys offense from a unit averaging 18.4 points per game in 2003 to a squad that averaged 32.2 per game. Tech went 10-2 and became the first Arkansas school to host and win a Division II playoff game.
“Todd will do a great job as head coach at Delta State,” Arkansas Tech athletic director Steve Mullins said. Mullins is the former head coach at Tech. “He was a fine player for me here at Arkansas Tech and continued to do an exceptional job as offensive coordinator during his last stint at his alma mater. He’s definitely a bright young mind in the game and an outstanding hire for the Statesmen.”
The University of Central Arkansas hired Cooley the following February, and he helped the Bears win the 2005 Gulf South Conference championship. They went on to reach the Division II playoff quarterfinals.
In 2007-08, the Bears threw for 57 touchdowns and completed 68 percent of their 804 passes with only 14 interceptions. UCA ran for 47 touchdowns and 4.2 yards per carry in his last two years. In their first two seasons of full-fledged Division I competition in 2007-08, the Bears averaged 287 passing yards and 157 on the ground while committing only 32 turnovers in 23 games.
During Cooley’s tenure as offensive coordinator at UCA, the Bears were 35-13, including an 11-3 Southland Conference mark in 2007 and 2008.
“Coach Cooley is a fierce competitor on the field and in recruiting circles. He is one of the bright talents and innovators in our game, and I believe he will be an excellent addition to the Delta State University family,” UCA Coach Clint Conque said.
Cooley then went to Northwestern State, where quarterback Brad Henderson finished the 2012 season ranked seventh in the SLC with 181 of 330 passes completed for 1,874 yards and 14 touchdowns. He threw only 4 interceptions. The Demons averaged 24.1 points per game and ranked fifth in the league in scoring.
Cooley was introduced by Delta State interim athletic director Ronnie Mayers at Monday’s program. “We are excited to add Todd Cooley to the Delta State University family,” Mayers said.
“Coach Cooley has coached at all levels of football and brings with him a knowledge of the Gulf South Conference and NCAA DII. As a student-athlete at Arkansas Tech and as a coach at ATU, Central Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist, DSU competed regularly against Coach Cooley, and now we are proud to have him as one of our own,” Mayers said.
Cooley’s father Don is a longtime Arkansas high school and junior high coach. He currently serves as offensive line coach at Nashville Junior High.
Cooley’s mother Lynne is a reading specialist for the state of Arkansas.
Cooley has two younger sisters, Paige Fisher of Russellville and Kristi Simms of Natchitoches, La. He is married to the former Lisa Gatlin of Conway.