AJ Cooper comes to Wyoming after serving as a member of North Dakota State's coaching staff the past eight seasons. His coaching career followed an outstanding playing career for the Bison. Cooper has been the defensive ends coach for NDSU the past five seasons and will continue that role at Wyoming along with coordinating special teams.
As the defensive ends coach at North Dakota State in 2012 and `13, Cooper helped the Bison rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense each of those two seasons, holding opponents to only 11.5 points per game in 2012 and only 11.3 points per game in 2013. NDSU led the nation in total defense in 2012, giving up only 234.5 yards per game, and ranked No. 3 in the country in total defense in 2013, allowing only 255.9 yards per game.
Prior to becoming the defensive ends coach in 2009, Cooper worked with the offensive line and tight ends as a student assistant and graduate assistant with the program from 2006-08.
An outstanding tight end for the Bison in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, he earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Football Gazette in `05. He caught 24 passes for 473 yards (19.7 yards per catch) and four touchdowns as a senior.
Following his college playing career, Cooper signed as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2006 and received an extended look at training camp.
Originally from Phoenix, Ariz., Cooper began his college career at Glendale Community College. His final season of junior college, he led all JC tight ends in three different categories, catching 44 passes for 578 yards and eight touchdowns.
He earned his bachelor's degree from NDSU in 2006, and was married in August 2010 to former NDSU women's basketball player Amanda Girodat. The couple have one son, Carter Johnson.