Cooks, 40, becomes the fourth Iowa graduate on the Sooners staff, joining coach Bob Stoops as well as co-defensive coordinators Mike Stoops and Jerry Montgomery. Cooks is one of the nation’s best recruiters and has done particularly well in his native Texas.
Since 2011, he has signed seven players from the Lone Star State for the Fighting Irish. He immediately raises Oklahoma’s presence in Texas, especially in Dallas, his hometown.
The Sooners were once prominent in Texas under Bob Stoops, but their profile has dipped in the state in recent years because of a more national recruiting approach and the emergence of in-state powers Baylor and TCU. Cooks succeeds Bobby Jack Wright, who retired last month after being an assistant throughout Bob Stoops’ 16-year tenure at Oklahoma.
Cooks spent the last five years at Notre Dame. Prior to coaching defensive backs this past season, he was co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach for the Fighting Irish for two seasons.
Cooks coached Notre Dame’s cornerbacks in 2011 and outside linebackers the previous year. Before that, he was defensive backs and assistant special teams coach at Wisconsin from 2006-09.
He coached defensive backs at Minnesota in 2005 and was defensive backs and assistant specials teams coach at Western Illinois the year before. He was a graduate assistant at Kansas State in 2003 and got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Nimitz High School in Irving, Texas.
A fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1998 as a defensive back, Cooks ended up playing that season with the Green Bay Packers. He also had stints with Atlanta and Jacksonville before playing for the XFL’s Chicago Enforcers in 2001. He was a strong safety at Iowa from 1993-97.
Oklahoma had a disappointing 8-5 record this past year, which included an embarrassing 40-6 loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. In addition to Wright’s retirement, Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell last month. The Sooners still have an open position at wide receivers coach.