LAFAYETTE, La. — D.J. Looney, an assistant offensive line coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, died Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack during a workout, the school said. He was 31.
Looney was beginning his third season on the Rajin’ Cajuns’ staff. His death was confirmed in a statement from the University.
“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 school said in a news release.
Funeral arrangements were unavailable late Saturday afternoon, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported.
Looney, who played collegiately at Mississippi State University, was a tight ends coach at his alma mater, The Acadiana Advocate reported. He was also an offensive graduate assistant coach at the University of Georgia in 2016, the newspaper reported.
In a statement, Mississippi State Director of Athletics said the university is “deeply saddened and heartbroken” over Looney’s death.
“D.J. was an outstanding student-athlete and coach and an even better person,” Cohen said about Looney, who was a three-year letterman in Starkville from 2007 to 2010. “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.”
In 2019, Looney helped coach an offensive line that helped the Ragin’ Cajuns rank third nationally in yards per carry (6.28), fourth nationally in rushing touchdowns (42), sixth nationally in rushing yards per game (257.4) and seventh in total rushing yards (3,604), according to The Advocate.
Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Robert Hunt, who played for Looney at Louisiana-Lafayette last season, said he was stunned to hear the news of the coach’s death.
“I don’t really have all my thoughts together, you know, just because ... It’s a crazy time,” Hunt told the Daily Advertiser. “It just doesn’t seem real right now. ... I’m just trying to go with the moment right now, just trying to understand everything.”
Looney was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduated from Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Alabama, the Advocate reported.