July 22, 2024

Nebraska assistant Evan Cooper resigns two months before season as Cornhuskers quickly target replacement


Nebraska defensive backs coach Evan Cooper has resigned from his position for personal reasons, 247Sports confirms. The Cornhuskers have worked quickly to identify a replacement and are expected to hire former Buffalo Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, ESPN reports. 

Cooper’s departure is untimely, however. Nebraska’s fall camp starts at the end of July and opens its 2024 season on Aug. 31 against UTEP

Cooper had also followed coach Matt Rhule through multiple stops in his career. The two initially joined forces in 2013 when Rhule, who was in his first year at Temple, hired Cooper as a graduate assistant. The two left for Baylor in 2017, with Cooper assuming the role of director of player personnel. He earned his first stint as an on-field coach in 2018 overseeing the secondary and defensive line. 

Rhule was hired by the Carolina Panthers in 2020 and appointed Cooper as his cornerbacks coach and director of player evaluation. Cooper wasn’t retained when Rhule was fired in 2022 and the pair moved to Nebraska ahead of the 2023 season. 

As for smoothing the transition between Cooper and his successor, Nebraska can get creative thanks to a recent NCAA ruling that allows analysts or quality control personnel to assume an on-field coaching role. 

“Senior defensive analyst Kevin McGarry has worked with Tony White at both San Diego State and Syracuse and could provide valuable knowledge of White’s defense to assist with defensive backs,” Huskers247’s Michael Bruntz notes. “McGarry was key last season in easing the transition to the 3-3-5.”