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Cooper and Burns join CU Football coaching staff

Gerald Cooper hired as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, Bobby Burns will be new defensive backs coach.

By Jordan Alves and David Gerhart

Campbellsville, KY - With #SigningDay2018 in the books for Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football, head coach Perry Thomas has announced the hiring of a new running backs coach/recruiting coordinator and a new defensive backs coach.

Like 41 of the newest signees for CU football, Gerald Cooper signed the dotted line this week and his first day on the job just happened to the same week as #SigningDay2018. He replaces AJ Strong as the running backs coach and Will Snyder as the recruiting coordinator - both left after the 2017 season.

"We are excited to get Coach Cooper on board," said Thomas. "He comes to us with great experience and was highly recommended. We think his ideas as the recruiting coordinator will continue to move us forward in the recruiting process. We also feel that he will be a great leader with our running backs."

Cooper takes over the backfield after the Tigers rushed for 1,481 yards last season and recorded 24 touchdowns - the most since 2010 when CU had 25 rushing TDs. Wade Holtsclaw led the rushing attack with 654 yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns, while fellow senior Chantz Goodman totaled 494 yards and two touchdowns. Both graduated and Cooper will have a new stable of backs for 2018.

"I was drawn to Campbellsville by the tradition of winning, the pursuit of greatness and winning a national championship," said Cooper. "Last but not least the people - staff and administrators - at CU have showed tremendous support over the last week."

"I can't wait to continue building and developing great relationships, attack everyday as a day to get better, work our tails off, and have fun doing it," said Cooper. "We also want to be proactive, unique and forward thinking in how we aggressively attack recruiting the 100-mile radius of our campus."

Cooper has seen many stops during his coaching career but the latest coming at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Cooper spent two seasons with the Blugolds as the wide receivers coach and led Eau Claire receiving core that racked up over 1,500 passing yards in 127 completions during his first season. He also coached multiple All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) First and Second Team receivers.

Prior to coming to UW-Eau Claire, Cooper had previous coaching experience at Benedictine University, College of DuPage, North Park University, St. Laurence High School (Burbank, Ill.), Western State Colorado University, Pueblo Centennial High School (Pueblo, Colo.), Colorado State University - Pueblo, and Aurora Central High School (Aurora, Colo.). He has also worked closely with Colorado Elite Passing Game Skills camps and High School and Youth Developmental Skills Camp in Aurora, Colo.

While at Benedictine, Cooper coached the secondary and special teams where he developed six All-NACC defensive backs, which included a two-time All-Conference, First Team All-Region, NACC Defensive Player of the Year (2014) and AFCA All-American safety.

At the College of DuPage and North Park University, Cooper coached three All-Region players, including an outside receiver, inside receiver and punter and had two corners selected for the 2012 National Bowl (Division II and Division III All-Star game).

While at Western State Colorado University, Cooper developed the program's all-time leader in receptions and All-RMAC wide receiver. Prior to that, Cooper was the lead recruiter for multiple Division II All-Americans at Colorado State University-Pueblo where he was the wide receivers coach, in addition to the team being 25th in the NCAA Division II in turnover ratio.

The Denver, Colorado native has also been a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) since 2008 and has been a part of the Professional Development Series (2008-10), Meeting Room Committee (2012-present) and Minority Issues Committee (2015-present).

Moreover, Cooper was selected for the 2017 NCAA and NFL Coaches Academy, a collaborative effort between NCAA leadership development and NFL Player Engagement to boost diversity in the college game. This committee is composed of coaches and administrators from the Association membership selected 25 participants from the NCAA. The NFL selected 30 participants, many also current NCAA coaches, through an internal process.

Cooper's collegiate playing experience included stops at NCAA programs New Mexico Highlands University (NCAA DII) and the University of San Diego (NCAA FCS). He has an undergraduate degree from New Mexico Highlands University (Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance - '02).

Bobby Burns is the new defensive backs coach
Head Coach Perry Thomas also announced the hiring of Bobby Burns as the defensive backs coach. Burns will replace Will Snyder as the defensive backs coach.

"Getting Coach Burns on board with us is tremendous," said Thomas. "Coach Burns comes from a NAIA playoff program [Langston University] and understands what it takes to compete in the NAIA and recruit in the NAIA. His knowledge of high-level defensive back play will help him lead our secondary."

Burns takes over a defensive back core that racked up 13 interceptions last season. BJ Pelt led the way with seven interceptions to lead the NAIA, while he also ranked ninth with 1.6 passes defended per game. Garland Webb was the leading tackler in the secondary last season with 67 total tackles in nine games.

"I am excited to be back in the Bluegrass state and coach the defensive backs at Campbellsville University," said Coach Burns. "This was an opportunity I could not pass up. There is a rich tradition of winning here along with great people at the University and in the community. I look forward to impacting the lives of young people and winning some football games!"

Burns is familiar to Kentucky as he played cornerback at University of Louisville for two seasons. During his time at Louisville, he earned Big East Athletic Academic Honors in both 2009 and 2010.

Prior to coming to Campbellsville, Burns coached for one season at Langston University. In the spring season, he coached the wide receiving core for the Lions and transitioned to coaching the defensive backs in the fall.

During his time at Langston, Burns helped the Lions to a 10-1 mark and an appearance into the NAIA Football Championship Series. Langston also won the Central States Football League regular-season title with an 8-0 conference mark.

The Lions defense was one of the best in the NAIA last season as they led the nation with a passing defense efficiency of 95.2. The secondary also surrendered just 168.5 passing yards per game and the defense allowed 17.3 points per game, ranking sixth and fourth in the NAIA, respectively.

Along with coaching the defensive backs at Langston, he created passing game scouting reports on the Lion opponents. Burns also recruited within different areas throughout central and western United States.

Before starting his collegiate coaching career at Langston, he coached the defensive backs at Mercer Island High School in Washington during the 2016 season. In 2012 and 2013, Burns started coaching at Spanaway Lake High School in Washington.

Burns' playing career included two seasons at Louisville and two seasons at Butte College. During the 2009 season, Burns played in 10 games for Louisville, which was highlighted by a four-tackle game against UConn, where he also recorded an interception.

At Butte, Burns helped the Roadrunners to a 12-0 mark and a national title at the junior college level during his sophomore campaign.

Along with adding two coaches to the Tiger coaching staff, Coach Thomas and Campbellsville added 41 new signees to its 2018 class on national signing day this week.

The 2018 season for the Tigers opens on Saturday, Aug. 25 at home against Faulkner University.

This story was posted on 2018-02-09 10:51:33
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Cooper and Burns join CU Football coaching staff

2018-02-09 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo courtesy Campbellsville University.
Gerald Cooper (left) has been hired as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, while Bobby Burns (right) will be the new defensive backs coach.

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