Ed Cooley: Onto Bigger and Better Things?


Lucy Kratman

Coach Cooley at LHS last spring.

Christopher Cooke, Lion's Roar Staff

     The Providence College Friars 2022-2023 season was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster and its final chapter is leaving many of its beloved supporters devasted. Throughout the years of our Big East favorite, Friars players have come and gone, yet one piece of the puzzle has been interchangeable, Coach Ed Cooley.

     From the start, coaching in the Providence region of the basketball world seemed like the perfect fit for Cooley, seeing he himself is a Rhode Island raised basketball prodigy. From a young age, Cooley’s passion for basketball was obvious to his neighbors of South Providence. Cooley excelled as a young man on the court, which has later translated to the world of coaching. Today, Ed Cooley is arguably one of the best Xs and Os coaches in all of NCAA basketball. On April 3, 2022, the historic, yet still striving Providence coach, was awarded the 2022 Naismith Coach Of The Year award, solidifying any doubters of his college ability.

     Though Mr. Cooley’s ability to turn the city of Providence into a desirable basketball destination is applaudable, his work in the R.I. Island community is what has set this national treasure apart from the pack. During Cooley’s 12-year tenure with the Friars, he’s been involved in quite a good amount of charities and motivational speeches for the American youth. In fact, Ed Cooley was able to leave his footprint right in our hometown of Lincoln. On May 18, 2022, the presents of the 6’2”, 230-pound gentle giant rocked the world of Lincoln High School. Cooley’s nearly two-hour appearance left Lincoln’s students with insight into the true meaning of a champion, along with stories of his rocky road to self-made success.

     So, after hearing all this blabber about Ed Cooley’s accolades, personality, and life story, you may ask, why would he leave his beloved Providence Friars with such little notice? After all, “Friartown” is best known for its motto, “Us, We, Together, Family, Friars”. The answer to this dilemma is money. At the end of the day, the world of professional and high-level collegiate sports is a business and money talks. Which is a hypocritical factor in the eyes of many Providence fans seeing the athletic department told Cooley, “we’re willing to either match or better another schools offer”. Ultimately, Ed Cooley steps into a school eager to reobtain the basketball success that set Georgetown aside from the rest of the Big East for so many years. Needless to say, the former Naismith Coach Of The Year will be making the big move for just one million more dollars annually.

      The move from his hometown to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., comes at a time when the Friars finished fifth and the Hoyas last in the illustrious Big East conference. Cooley’s decision to shift his attention to Georgetown will require a complete rebuild of the program, much like the assignment given on March 22, 2011, when he first took over the Friars.

     Speculation of the move has resonated in the news ever since the firing of Patrick Ewing, with the deal not being closed out until today, per FOX College Basketball. Shortly after the news shook the world of Rhode Island, the coach spoke out on his decision.

     “I plan on hitting the ground running, getting to work on the court, and cultivating relationships in and around the district,” Cooley said on taking on the Georgetown job. “Accepting this opportunity with Georgetown is not a decision I took lightly, and was made in careful consideration with my wife and family.”

     Even with Cooley’s departure, many Rhode Island residents will continue to pull for the great coaches’ success in the world of basketball, no matter the location. The 12-year Cooley era brought years of excitement and joy., which can’t be erased by any move. Obviously, the loss of Ed Cooley hurts Providence, but his touch on the program will leave PC’s next coach in good hands.