Louisiana OL Coach D.J. Looney Dies at Age 31 After Heart Attack at Practice

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2020

Mississippi State tight ends coach D.J. Looney watches the video board from the sidelines during the first half of the TaxSlayer Bowl NCAA college football game against Louisville, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced that assistant offensive line coach D.J. Looney died Saturday after suffering a heart attack during a team workout:

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns® @RaginCajuns

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. https://t.co/7e1DemV5jA

Looney, who was 31 years of age, was entering his third season as part of the Ragin' Cajuns coaching staff.

He served as the tight ends coach at Mississippi State in 2017 after playing collegiately for the Bulldogs as an offensive lineman from 2007 to 2010.

University of Tennessee assistant athletic director for football communications Bill Martin, who was part of the MSU staff with Looney, tweeted the following:

Bill Martin @Bill_Martin

Shocked and saddened to hear the news of @CoachDJLooney. Man he he loved @HailStateFB so much. Can still see that smile on the field at last year’s opener. Players respected him so much. Thoughts and prayers to him, his family, @RaginCajunsFB and #HailState family. 🙏

Looney was a Chattanooga, Tennessee, native and played his high school football in Birmingham, Alabama.

After playing collegiately with the Bulldogs, Looney got his start in coaching with the team as an offensive graduate assistant under head coach Dan Mullen in 2011. Looney then spent time as an assistant at East Mississippi Community College, Central Arkansas and the University of Georgia.

With Looney on the staff the past two seasons, Louisiana went to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since going to four straight from 2011 to 2014.

The Ragin' Cajuns went 7-7 in 2018 and then enjoyed the most successful season in program history in 2019, going 11-3 and winning the LendingTree Bowl to close the year.