A Very Cool Assembly and a Very Inspiring Coach


Lucy Kratman

PC Friars Coach Ed Cooley has a story to tell. And he tells it well.


Will Denio, Lion's Roar Editor

On a sunny yet windy Wednesday morning on Ferguson Field in May, Lincoln High School students  got a surprise visit from Providence College Mens Basketball coach, Ed Cooley.

Cooley, known for his outstanding basketball knowledge and coaching ability, is also a very powerful motivational speaker. As a basketball coach, it is important to be a leader and be able to motivate. Cooley is truly one of the best at inspiring and leading young athletes, consistently pushing them to be the best versions of themselves. 

His leadership has been evident throughout his stay as the Providence College Mens Basketball Coach, as he has led teams to two Big East Championships, and five NCAA tournament appearances. This past season, Cooley corralled his squad, and led them to the Big East regular season championship, and made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, losing to a very talented Kansas team that ended up winning the whole tournament. 

The visit was kept a secret in order to build excitement and suspense, and it worked. As Coach Cooley walked out on the field, some knew exactly who he was, and others were not as sure. All the Providence fans watched in a stunning display, as Cooley approached the middle of the field sporting a colorful blazer and purple sneakers. LHS Principal Robert Mezzanotte greeted Cooley, explaining to those who were unaware of who the coach was. 

Coach Cooley got straight to the speech. He opened up by asking a question to those in the audience, saying, ¨Who here are complainers?¨ Almost all of the hands in the crowd shot up. Cooley took a long pause to take everything in, and continued, saying, ¨Complaining will get you nowhere in life.¨ The coach then went on to talk about how his upbringing led him to seize his limited opportunities, and not complain. Cooley was born and raised in the South side of Providence in a house that didn´t have lights or food. When he thinks about his childhood, he remembers looking in the pantry and only seeing the lightbulb in the right hand corner of the closet. Coach Cooley went on with his story, telling the crowd that they should always appreciate what they have. I got the chance to speak to the coach after he concluded his speech.  I asked him how important the underdog mentality was in his success, and in life in general. He told me that it is one of the main reasons his is where he is now. He said that being underestimated and having limited resources growing up allowed him to prosper in life. I then asked him the follow up question of what made him such a great leader. He told me that having a will to learn and improve in everything he did, and his competitiveness and winning attitude. 

Coach Cooley is a natural born leader, and when talking about what it takes to be a winner he said, ¨Losing is easy, but no one wants to be a loser, everyone wants to win, but winning and leading is hard.¨ He went on to talk about the motto he carries with his team and in his life: BE  THAT DUDE. He explained that this saying motivates himself, his players and the other coaches to achieve greatness. He talked about what it takes to be a leader and used an example, stating, ¨Whenever we eat as a team, I always look to see who the first one in line is, and who the last one eating is, because that can tell you so much about a person.¨ Then he asked the audience why he observes and pays attention to the little things like this. He then answered his own question, ¨Eating last proves that you are a leader and you put others before yourself.¨ 

Cooley wrapped his speech up talking about greatness, telling the young audience that they should pursue their dreams. Throughout his talk, he explained how everything runs through education, and that people should always be eager to learn. He told the students to appreciate their teachers, especially those who push them to their limits, because those teachers are the ones that will have the greatest impact. When he finished talking, LHS athletic director  Greg O’Connor presented him with a golf package, with some golf balls and LHS athletic gear, on behalf of the entire school. 

When Coach Cooley was done, he stayed after, taking pictures with LHS students and teachers. He is an amazing motivational speaker and he clearly moved people in the audience. Coach Cooley is a man of great character and leadership, and we are so thankful he took time out of his busy schedule to share knowledge and advice to our LHS community.