D.J. Looney, an assistant coach for the University of Louisiana football team, died Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack at a team workout at Cajun Field in Lafayette.
According to Sports Illustrated, Looney was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. He was 31 years old.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Department of Athletics mourns the sudden loss of Louisiana Football assistant coach D.J. Looney, who passed away Saturday morning following a heart attack during a team workout at Cajun Field. pic.twitter.com/7e1DemV5jA— Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns® (@RaginCajuns) August 1, 2020
“At this time, the Department of Athletics asks that fans, friends and acquaintances of Coach Looney keep his family and the football program in their thoughts and prayers,” the Louisiana athletic department said in a statement.
Looney was entering his third season on the UL football staff working with the Ragin’ Cajuns’ offensive line. Looney helped develop two UL linemen — Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson — into NFL draft picks. Hunt was chosen No. 39 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 draft while Dotson went in the fourth round (No. 135 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Before his time at Louisiana, Looney served as a tight ends coach at Mississippi State, where he played offensive line from 2007 to 2010. He got his coaching start as a graduate assistant for Dan Mullen at MSU in 2011.
"The entire Mississippi State Family is deeply saddened and heartbroken by the loss of one of our very own in D.J. Looney. D.J. was an outstanding student-athlete and coach and an even better person. He had such a positive personality, attitude and always a smile on his face,” MSU athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “D.J. will be remembered and missed by all who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J., his family, his friends, his former teammates, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Mississippi State.”
After his time at MSU, Looney was the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at East Mississippi Community College, spent two seasons coaching tackles and tight ends at Central Arkansas and had a stint as a graduate assistant at Georgia.
After the news of Looney’s death emerged, tributes poured in from colleagues, teammates and players on social media.
Absolutely heartbreaking. DJ was a great teammate, friend & just an overall good person. Was one of the easiest guys to get alone with. He had a very bright future as a coach.— Jamar Chaney (@Jamar51Chaney) August 1, 2020
Thoughts & prayers are with his family and friends.
Fly high DJ! We’re going to miss you brother.🙏🏾🕊 https://t.co/ENuReoFtxV
Not a lot of coaches can say they cared for their players off the field just as much as they did on the field the way this man did. Real stand up genuine guy. Rest up Freak🕊💯 https://t.co/bCEq8xnxaz— Montez Sweat (@_sweat9) August 1, 2020
I love you looney this one hurt THANK YOU for all that you’ve done for me! You kept a smile on my face man we joked during meetings and practice! You will be missed my man love ya coach! https://t.co/TbdMzG9ZTi— Robert Hunt (@RobertHandyHunt) August 1, 2020
RIP🙏🏼 We lost a special light and soul today. DJ was an up and coming star in our profession - he was a great coach, friend and person. My prayers go out to his family. Going to miss you DJ! https://t.co/LCLxMmZZBg— James Coley (@CoachColey) August 1, 2020
Damn this just numbed my body some kind of bad,I can not believe it,DJ was a great teammate,friend and person just overall a easy to like,love and root for guy,man I’m gone miss his positive texts and energy,it’s a sad day,fly high my dawg‼️🙏🏿🕊💯 #Hailstate🐶 https://t.co/D3MipjpeI6— Anthony Dixon (@Boobie24Dixon) August 1, 2020
Lost a great coach and even better person. Took me under his wing and taught me to always look at the big picture of a defense from an offensive perspective. Thank you Coach Looney 🙏🏾 https://t.co/zh3FT28KR4— Gregory Bowser II (@coachbowzaUL) August 1, 2020
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