University of Louisiana at Lafayette assistant football coach D.J. Looney has died at the age of 31, according to a statement from the school’s Department of Athletics.
Looney, who was entering his third season on staff with the Ragin’ Cajuns as an assistant offensive line coach, passed away Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack during a team workout at Cajun Field in Lafayette, the statement said.
“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,” it said.
Looney previously played for the Mississippi State University football team between 2007 and 2010. In a statement, the school said 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. D.J. will be remembered and missed by all who knew and loved him,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said.
Looney was key to developing the Louisiana-Lafayette offensive line, according to a bio on the athletics department website, which featured NFL players Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson, who now play for the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.
Looney graduated from MSU with a degree in arts and sciences in 2010, MSU’s statement said. During his time at the school, he spent three years as an SEC Student Advisory Council Representative and served as president of MSU’s Campus Student Advisory Council in 2009, after serving as vice president the year prior.
Looney kicked off his coaching career with the MSU Bulldogs in 2011 as a graduate assistant, per MSU.
He was recruiting coordinator at East Mississippi Community College from 2012 to 2013 and served as tackles and tight ends coach at Central Arkansas for two seasons in 2014 and 2015. Looney went on to serve as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia in 2016 before returning to MSU in 2017 as tight ends coach.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum called Looney “a tremendous man with a limitless future.”