TAMPA BAY, Fla. â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Jon Cooper to be the head coach of the American Hockey Leagueâ€™s Norfolk Admirals today, Admirals General Manager Julien BriseBois announced. Cooper joins the Admirals from the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.
â€œWe are pleased to announce Jon as the head coach of the Admirals today,â€ BriseBois said upon making the announcement. â€œHe has excelled at a championship level in each location he has coached and we are happy he elected to continue his career in the Lightning organization. Jon is a perfect fit as we strive to restore a winning culture for our players and the fans in Norfolk.â€
Cooper, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, has spent the previous two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, posting an 84-27-9 record. He also led the Gamblers to two Anderson Cups, awarded to the USHL regular season champions, and one Clark Cup, given to the playoff champions.
â€œI am honored and humbled to be offered this great opportunity with organizations led by first class individuals such as Jeff Vinik, Ken Young, Steve Yzerman, Julien BriseBois and Guy Boucher,â€ Cooper said. â€œWith strong leadership from the ownership level down through both franchises, everyone is working towards making the Lightning and the Admirals an organization to be proud of and Iâ€™m honored that theyâ€™ve asked me to be part of it.â€
During his first season behind the bench in Green Bay, Cooper helped lead the biggest one-year improvement in USHL history after the Gamblers went from 32 points in 2007-08 to 82 points and the USHLâ€™s best record in 2008-09. Cooper was recognized for his efforts following the 2008-09 season, being named the 2009 USHL General Manager of the Year.
Last season Cooper led Green Bay to its second consecutive Anderson Cup as well as the Clark Cup Championship, the teamâ€™s first since 2000. He guided the team to a 45-10-5 record, the best in Gamblersâ€™ 16-year franchise history. Cooper was also awarded the USHL Coach and General Manager of the Year honors.