Moore: Fear Not Friars Fans, Coach Cooley Ain’t Going Anywhere


Another year, another round of speculation. Will Providence College Friars head coach Ed Cooley head for greener pastures?

Big time programs like Louisville, (thanks to former coach Rick Pitino’s firing due to corruption allegations) are looking for head coaches. And Cooley’s name is coming up as a possible replacement. 

Don’t worry Providence College fans. He’s not going anywhere.

Coach’s Decision

Why not? The answer is simple. It’s not in his best interest to leave.

But couldn’t he make more money elsewhere?

The answer is not really.

Believe it or not, as of last year, Cooley was the 25th highest paid coach in the nation–earning $2,036,454. That’s not bad.

This might surprise some PC fans. For years, one of the big excuses as to why the team couldn’t compete for national titles, was because they couldn’t afford to pay a coach. That excuse is no long valid.

Cooley is a Top Paid Coach

So there’s really not as much upward mobility for Cooley as some people might have thought.

And here’s the problem with the programs that he could go to and earn more money at–like Louisville. They have super high standards. (Providence College fans don’t.)

Louisville boosters and fans aren’t happy with NCAA tournament appearances. They want final four appearances. They want national titles.

That’s certainly not the case here.

Providence let Tim Welsh coach here for years, despite constantly underachieving and stubbornly playing that stupid 2-3 zone and letting Big East opponents rain in three pointers on us.

Build a statue of Coach Cooley? Can we at least make a Sweet 16 appearance first?

And Cooley? We have Friars fans saying we need to build statues to the man, despite the fact that we’ve never even been to a Sweet 16.

PC fans are so enamored with Cooley that I’m hesitant to criticize Cooley in front of Friar die hards. I’m not kidding when I say I’m worried they’ll start a fist fight with me for speaking ill of Cooley.

No Greener Pastures

Don’t get me wrong. I’m personally a fan of Cooley. For starters, he’s a great guy. His personality makes it so that it’s almost impossible not to like him. I don’t think there’s anyone–outside of his players during a game–who have walked away with anything but a smile on their face after interacting with him.

He’s done well with his recruiting. He’s gotten the team to four straight NCAA tournaments. He’s got a great chance to get to five straight this year.

But I don’t think he’s infallible either.

Is PC’s Ed Cooley above criticism? PC fans think so. Other school’s fans won’t feel the same way.

For instance, back in 2012, Cooley’s first NCAA tournament, I thought Cooley made some questionable coaching decisions at the end of the game. Cooley could have gone for a 2 for 1 by manipulating the shot clock (shooting early in the possession) and getting an extra possession in the process. He didn’t. That gave UNC the last shot. They capitalized. PC lost.

There have been others questionable decisions from an X’s and O’s standpoint. Yet any coach can be second guessed. And it’s pretty easy to play quarterback on Monday morning.

But the fact remains that Cooley will never be fired from Providence College. He’s got numerous years remaining on his deal. Here, Cooley can be coach for life.

Not Going Anywhere?

But say he takes that job at Louisville and has a couple bad years right off the bat. Make no mistake: the program would fire him so fast his head would spin. They’d bring in some bright, new shiny toy. That would leave Cooley looking for a job. And he’d have trouble finding one as attractive as Providence College.

Does it really make sense to take a job that pays an extra million per year, but contains mountains more pressure?

For Cooley, Providence is the goose that lays the golden egg. It’s a spigot that will continue to pour over $2 million into his pocket on a yearly basis, for perhaps two decades into the future.

A place like Louisville might hire him and fire him in two years. That wouldn’t be a net gain for Cooley.

The bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

And Coach Cooley is very intelligent. He knows all this.

That’s why he’s not going anywhere.

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to