Ron Cooper, who has nine years of head coaching experience, is in his fifth season at South Carolina. He will oversee the safeties in 2008.
Cooper has had several responsibilities in his time at Carolina. He coached the defensive backs in 2004. He handled the outside linebackers and was the special teams coordinator in 2005, then worked with the secondary and served as the Assistant Head Coach in both 2006 and 2007.
In 2007, the Gamecocks were ranked among the top five in the country in pass defense for most of the season, including several weeks at No. 1. He coached cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Emanuel Cook to All-SEC recognition by the league's coaches in 2007.
Cooper did a solid job guiding the USC secondary in 2006 after losing a pair of standouts in safety Ko Simpson and cornerback Johnathan Joseph in the first four rounds of the NFL draft. Despite playing a pair of true freshmen extensively, the Gamecocks ranked 43rd in the country in pass defense. Cooper served as the head coach at three schools - Eastern Michigan (1993-94), Louisville (1995-97) and Alabama A&M (1998-01).
Prior to joining the Gamecock staff, he worked as the secondary coach at Wisconsin in 2002 and was the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Mississippi State in 2003. While on the staff at Notre Dame for the 1991 and 1992 seasons, Cooper helped lead the Fighting Irish to victories in the 1992 Sugar Bowl against third-ranked Florida and in the 1993 Cotton Bowl against fourth-ranked Texas A&M.
As the head coach at Alabama A&M, Cooper helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2000 championship game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, with that team leading the nation in rushing defense and finishing eighth in total defense.
During his stint at Louisville, his 1995 Cardinal team led the nation in turnovers forced, finished ninth nationally in scoring defense, 18th in total defense and 20th in rushing defense. His 1996 UL squad ranked fourth in the NCAA in both total and rushing defense. Born Feb. 11, 1962 in Huntsville, Ala., Cooper was also the defensive coordinator at UNLV and Murray State. He worked as an assistant coach at East Carolina and Austin Peay and was a graduate assistant at Minnesota under Lou Holtz and also at Appalachian State.
Cooper played college football at Jacksonville State, where he helped lead his team to the NCAA Division II playoffs on three occasions.
He earned his bachelor's degree from JSU in 1983 and later received a master's degree from Appalachian State in 1986. He and his wife, Djuna, have a daughter, Tyler, and two sons, Tristan and Ronald Jr.