Football Coaching Staff
Coach Info:

• Veteran defensive coach joined the Oklahoma staff on Feb. 6, 2015, after spending the previous five seasons at Notre Dame.

• Owns plenty of credibility with his players after earning All-Big Ten accolades as a safety at Iowa before embarking on a pro playing career.

• Headed a 2017 secondary that helped OU rank third in the Big 12 in passing defense (238.4 ypg) and fourth in pass efficiency defense. After Nov. 10 (season's final five games), the Sooners led the Big 12 in passing defense (194.6 ypg), yards per pass attempt (6.5), yards per completion (10.8) and passing touchdowns allowed (5), and ranked second in pass efficiency defense (123.6).

• In charge of a defensive backfield that helped OU pace the Big 12 in 2016 by allowing opponents to complete just 54.7 percent of their pass attempts. That figure was even lower in Big 12 play at 53.4 percent.

• Cooks’ 2015 defensive backs helped Oklahoma limit opponents to just 202.8 passing yards per game, fewest in the Big 12. The opportunistic unit was responsible for 17 of OU’s 20 interceptions in 2015. Cornerback Zack Sanchez was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award and was named a second-team All-American by Sporting News, USA Today and Walter Camp Foundation. Sanchez led the Big 12 and was second nationally with 0.6 interceptions per game. Fellow corner Jordan Thomas and safety Ahmad Thomas were second-team All-Big 12 honorees.

• The Fighting Irish made five straight bowl appearances during Cooks’ stint with Notre Dame (2010-14), including a berth in the BCS National Championship Game following the 2012 season.

• Notre Dame consistently boasted one of the nation’s best pass defenses under Cooks’ tutelage. In 2014, the Irish tied for 15th among FBS teams, forcing 16 interceptions.

• With Cooks serving as co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2013, Notre Dame ranked 15th in the FBS in pass defense (198.2 ypg), improving from 25th the previous season (200.2 ypg).

• Notre Dame’s defense ranked second in the nation in yards per completion (9.95) in 2012. The Fighting Irish tied for sixth among FBS squads by allowing just 11 touchdown passes as they permitted 199.8 passing yards per game, a figure that ranked 25th in the country.

• Versatile defensive coach originally joined Brian Kelly’s staff at Notre Dame working with the club’s outside linebackers in 2010.

• Five defensive backs mentored by Cooks at Notre Dame were selected in the NFL Draft: Harrison Smith (1st round in 2012 – Minnesota), Robert Blanton (5th round in 2012 – Minnesota), Jamoris Slaughter (6th round in 2013 – Cleveland), Zeke Motta (7th round in 2013 – Atlanta) and Bennett Jackson (6th round in 2014 – N.Y. Giants).

• Enjoyed success transitioning offensive players to defense at Notre Dame. Bennett Jackson began his career as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback, while KeiVarae Russell became the first true freshman to start at cornerback in in the opening game of the season for the Irish in 2012. Russell originally enrolled at Notre Dame as a running back.

• Prior to his arrival in South Bend, Cooks spent four seasons as defensive backs/assistant special teams coach at Wisconsin (2006-09) as the Badgers compiled a 38-14 record and earned four bowl berths.

• Made an immediate impact in 2006 as Wisconsin led the nation in pass efficiency defense (84.19), while ranking second in pass defense (138.3 ypg) as opposing passers completed only 47.8 percent of their attempts.

• Cooks coached defensive backs at Minnesota in 2005 where the defense ranked second in the Big Ten by allowing a 55.3 completion percentage.

• His first full-time coaching assignment came at Western Illinois where he coached defensive backs and assisted with special teams.

• Began his coaching career in the Big 12 ranks, serving as a graduate assistant for Bill Snyder at Kansas State in 2003.

• Team captain, All-Big Ten selection at Iowa (1997)
• Fifth-round draft choice of Minnesota Vikings (1998)
• Spent time in NFL with Green Bay, Atlanta and Jacksonville
• Played for XFL’s Chicago Enforcers (2001)

• Jordan Thomas (Oklahoma); All-Big 12 First Team
• Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), Panthers; All-America Second Team, All-Big 12 First Team
• Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame), NFL free agent
• Zeke Motta (Notre Dame)
• Jamoris Slaughter (Notre Dame)
• KeiVarae Russell (Notre Dame); Freshman All-America
• Robert Blanton (Notre Dame)
• Harrison Smith (Notre Dame), Vikings
• Jay Valai, (Wisconsin); All-Big Ten Second Team
• Chris Maragos, (Wisconsin), Eagles; All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
• Allen Langford, (Wisconsin); All-Big Ten First Team
• Roderick Rogers, (Wisconsin); All-Big Ten Second Team