Head Coach Jon Cooper joins the Syracuse Crunch after spending the past two seasons as head coach of Tampa Bay’s previous affiliate the Norfolk Admirals. Cooper recorded a 94-44-10-8 regular season and a 17-7 playoff record with the Admirals during those years.
In 2011-12, Norfolk set franchise records with 55 wins and 113 standings points on their way to capturing their first ever Calder Cup. They also set the North American Professional Hockey record by winning an incredible 28 games in a row smashing the previous mark of 18 set by, ironically, the Syracuse Crunch. During that 28 game run, the Admirals won 20 straight in regulation. After outscoring the opposition 273-180 in the regular season, the Admirals also captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular season points champion while also earning the Frank S. Mathers Trophy as East Division regular season champions. On April 9, 2012, Cooper was named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.
Prior to joining the Admirals, Cooper posted an 84-27-9 record over the previous two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. In his two years at the helm, he led the Gamblers to two Anderson Cups as regular season championships (2008-09 and 2009-10) and a Clark Cup as playoff champions (2010). Cooper’s impact was immediate as he guided the Gamblers to the biggest one-year improvement in USHL history. Green Bay went from 32 points in 2007-08 to 82 points and the USHL’s best record, earning him the 2009 USHL GM of the Year Award. The following year, Cooper not only was again named USHL GM of the Year, but also took home the USHL Coach of the Year, as well.
Before joining Green Bay, Cooper spent five seasons as the general manager and head coach of the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League, recording a 223-93-17 regular season and postseason record. He led the Bandits to Robertson Cup Championships in 2007 and 2008 and was named NAHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06 and 2007-08.
In 2002, Cooper guided the Metro Jets of the Central States Hockey League to the Junior B (now Tier III) USA Hockey National Championship. Cooper is the only individual to head coach a national championship-winning team at all three tiers of junior hockey in the United States (Tier III - 2002 Metro Jets, Tier II - 2007 and 2008 St. Louis Bandits, Tier I – 2010 Green Bay Gamblers).
In his first season as a hockey coach, Cooper was named the 1999 High School Coach of the year by the Lansing State Journal after guiding Lansing Catholic Central to its first regional hockey title in 25 years.
Cooper has also coached internationally, most recently serving as the assistant coach for the USA U-18 team that competed in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He won a silver medal as head coach of the USA U-17 team that participated in the 2007 Five Nation’s Tournament. Cooper was named a finalist for the 2007 United States Olympic Committee’s Development Coach of the Year.
A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Cooper holds dual American and Canadian citizenship. He played hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, before moving on to Hofstra University. While at Hofstra Cooper played four seasons of Division I lacrosse and one season for the school’s hockey team while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He went on to obtain his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Cooper closed his law practice in 2003 to focus on his coaching career.