Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. and Athletics Director Bob Driscoll announced today (March 30) that men’s basketball Head Coach Ed Cooley has signed a long-term contract extension. Cooley was hired at Providence College on March 22, 2011. In addition to the announcement of the contract extension, Cooley also announced that he and his wife, Nurys, will donate $500,000 to the academic portion of the soon-to-be-constructed Ruane Friar Development Center — a multi-purpose facility that will significantly enhance Friars athletics, student services and College community life.
“Coach Cooley has demonstrated in many ways and on many occasions that he is the right coach for Providence College,” said Fr. Shanley. “The College has benefited greatly from his leadership, both on and off the court, and I am pleased to affirm that leadership with this extension of his contract. I look forward to him continuing as the Head Coach of Providence College Men’s Basketball for many years to come. I also want to express the College’s and my own personal gratitude to Ed and Nurys for their generous gift toward the academic portion of the Friar Development Center.”
In five seasons with the Friars, Cooley has posted a 103-67 mark (.606). In 10 seasons as a head coach, Cooley has a 195-136 (.589) record. Prior to coming to Providence, he spent five seasons at Fairfield and amassed a 92-69 (.571) mark. When Cooley was hired in 2011, the Friars had finished under .500 in six of the 10 previous seasons and had been to just one NCAA Tournament (2004) in that 10-year span. Cooley has led the Friars to four consecutive post-season tournament berths, including three straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2014-16), and he guided the team to 2014 BIG EAST title.
This season, Cooley led the Friars to a 24-11 mark and a 10-8 record (fourth) in the BIG EAST. After finishing fourth in league standings for the third straight season, Providence advanced to the BIG EAST Semifinals for the third-consecutive year, which has only occurred one other time in the history of Friar basketball. Most importantly, the Friars earned their third-consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, where the team registered a 1-1 mark, which included a First Round win over Southern California. It marked just the third time in the history of Friar basketball that the team reached the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons. The squad also recorded 24 wins, which is the most since the 1996-97 season. With 24 wins, the Friars posted their third-consecutive season with 20 or more victories. It is the first time Providence has had three-consecutive 20-win seasons since 1975-78. Another milestone for the Friars was that they finished the regular season with 22 wins, which was the most since 1978 and just the sixth team all-time at PC to accomplish the feat. Cooley’s Friars also were ranked for 13 weeks during the season, including a No. 8 national ranking on January 4. It marked the Friars’ highest ranking in the Associated Press Poll since March 1, 1977 when the team was ranked No. 8.
“We feel this contract extension is an important part of the process in continuing to build our basketball program,” Driscoll said. “Ed has done so much for the College and for the Athletics Department. He indicated to us that he wants to finish his coaching career at Providence College and he is the person we want to guide our men’s basketball program. We are thrilled that Ed will be a Friar for life.”
Two of Cooley’s players earned significant honors this season as junior guard Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) and sophomore Ben Bentil (Wilmington, Del.) earned All-BIG EAST accolades. Dunn also earned his second-consecutive BIG EAST Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also earned numerous All-America accolades. Bentil became the seventh Friar all-time and the third under Cooley to lead the BIG EAST in scoring, averaging 22.9 points per game. For his efforts, he was named BIG EAST Most Improved Player – the second time a Friar has received the honor in Cooley’s five seasons at Providence.
During his time at Providence, Cooley has coached three All-Americans. He also has had players earn two BIG EAST Player of Year honors, two BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year accolades, two BIG EAST Most Improved Player awards, one BIG EAST Tournament MVP, three BIG EAST All-Tournament Team accolades, and seven All-BIG EAST honors.
“Providence has always been my destination,” Cooley said. “Fr. Shanley and Bob Driscoll have made a tremendous commitment to compete at the highest level and I appreciate all their support. Nurys and I wanted to acknowledge this support and appreciate Providence College by giving back. We are excited that we will be at Providence College for life.”
Prior to his stint at Fairfield, Cooley spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach for Al Skinner. He coached for one season at Rhode Island under Skinner (1996-97) and nine seasons as an assistant at Boston College (1997-06), where the Eagles posted a 175-108 mark and advanced to five NCAA Tournaments. Cooley also helped lead the Eagles to the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament title and three BIG EAST regular season titles (2001, 2003 and 2005).
A graduate of Stonehill College, where he was a three-time captain for the basketball team, Cooley began his coaching career at UMass-Dartmouth. He helped lead UMass-Dartmouth to a 25-4 mark and a No. 3 national ranking (1994-95). He returned to his alma mater, Stonehill, and served as an assistant coach for one season (1995-96) before joining Skinner’s staff at URI.
Cooley, a native of Providence, attended Central High School and earned two Rhode Island High School Player of the Year honors before attending Stonehill. He and his wife, Nurys, have one daughter, Olivia, and one son, Isaiah.
Photo Courtesy Providence Athletics