On Sept. 6, the Providence College athletic department announced that Ed Cooley has signed a multi-year deal to remain the men’s head basketball coach. President Kenneth Sicard, O.P., along with new athletic director Steve Napolillo have not officially released the details of the contract, but some are speculating that Cooley will receive a salary that “exceeds $4 million a season” according to Kevin McNamara, a local college basketball journalist and sports talk radio host. Cooley, who is from Providence, said in a press conference, “Providence is my home and Providence is where I want to be.” Cooley is not only proud to be coaching a high-level basketball team, but even prouder that he does for his hometown and surrounded by family. Anyone who has ever met coach Cooley has nothing negative to say about him and he is one of, if not the, most respected coaches in all of college sports. His passion for winning combined with his love for Friartown, his players, and fellow coaches produces a character that we all have come to look up to.
Father Sicard has praised Cooley for his entire tenure and with this contract extension, that praise has become materialized: “Ed is fully engaged in the depth and breadth of the Providence College mission and the daily life of the College. We are so very pleased with and grateful for his continued commitment to PC, and this contract extension is, in turn, our commitment to him that we will continue to support him and the men’s basketball program to the highest degree.” Napolillo said, “This contract extension is an example of the commitment to Ed, the program, and his family as we strive to reach our goal of winning Big East and national championships together. Ed has shown he is the perfect fit as a coach and an ambassador for Providence College. He and his wife, Nurys, and his family are part of the Friar community. I look forward to working with coach Cooley for many years to come.” Napolillo is longtime assistant athletic director who has been at PC since 2004 and has worked his way up the ranks to become the vice president of the College along with athletic director. To have an individual who has been at an institution for 18 years make comments like that about a single person’s character means that Ed Cooley really is the whole package.
After leading the Friars to a 27–6 record last season and capturing a Big East regular season title for the first time in school history, expectations will be higher than normal for the team. The Friars’ 27 victories are tied for the second highest single season win total in the history of the program. The 27 wins also marked the sixth time in his 11 seasons at Providence that his team earned 20 or more victories. Cooley also led the Friars to a 16–1 record at home, which is the squad’s best mark since 1974, when that team went a perfect 16–0 in home contests. Only having three returners, Ed Croswell ’23RS , Jared Bynum ’GR, and Alyn Breed ’24, from last year’s Sweet Sixteen run, chemistry will have to mesh quickly as new faces come together in Friartown. Cooley took the Friars all the way to the Sweet Sixteen which was the farthest the school has gone since they went to the Elite Eight in 1997 under Pete Gillen.
Providence’s overall record since Cooley took the reins in 2011 is 221–141 with a .610 winning percentage. Cooley has reshaped the college’s viewpoints on the basketball team since he took over. He has brought in top recruits with the likes of Kris Dunn and David Duke, Jr. to name just a few. Cooley has made us feel things about each team he coaches in ways we could not even believe before each season begins. He has brought PC national recognition by coaching teams that became ranked in the top 10 of college teams in the country. Cooley has fired up the home crowd for over 11 years as coach, and this past season showed why the “Amp” is the best place to play college basketball. It will continue to be that way as long as the Friars have coach Cooley to lead them into each game.