Former all-Big Ten Conference safety and National Football League veteran will coach the secondary in 2014. Cooks has worked with either cornerbacks or safeties in 10 of his 11 years as an assistant coach.
Elevated to interim defensive coordinator for the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Served as the co-defensive coordinator and coached cornerbacks for the Irish the past two seasons (2012-13).
In 2013, Notre Dame ranked 15th in the FBS in fewest passing yards allowed/game (198.2), 16th in passing yards allowed/completion (10.73) and 17th in passing yards allowed/attempt (6.31).
Bennett Jackson ranked tied for 39th in the FBS in interceptions (0.31/game) in 2012 despite being in his second season at the position and first as a starter.
KeiVarae Russell switched from running back to cornerback in the '12 preseason and became the first freshman ever at Notre Dame to start at cornerback in the opening game of a season (Sept. 1 against Navy).
Russell collected two interceptions in '12 and was named a freshman All-American by Sporting News and Scout.com powered by FOX Sports NET.
Cooks was critical in the development of Notre Dame's inexperienced secondary in '12. The Irish ranked among the top 20 FBS schools in the following pass defensive categories: fewest passing yards/completion (9.95, 2nd), fewest TD passes (11, t-6th), pass efficiency defense (111.36, 16th), interceptions (16, t-20th), fewest passing yards/attempt (5.98, 13th) interception percentage (3.69, 24th), and pass defense (199.77, 25th).
Coached the cornerbacks in 2011 and helped the Irish improve 17 spots in pass efficiency defense and 16 positions in pass defense. Notre Dame's secondary helped limit opponents to 205.8 passing yards per game and ranked 38th in the FBS.
Robert Blanton had the best season of his Irish career in 2011 as he ranked third on the team with 70 tackles, ranked second with eight tackles for loss and added six pass breakups, two interceptions, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Invited to attend 2011 NCAA Champion Forum, a seminar for minority coaches where they learn from current athletics directors how to interview for head coaching jobs and run a football program.
Worked with the outside linebackers in his first season at Notre Dame.
Coached defensive backs at Wisconsin for four seasons and helped develop 10 all-Big Ten honorees, including three first-team selections.
Helped lead the Badgers to a 38-14 record from 2006-09, with Wisconsin finishing the season ranked in the top 25 three times.
In 2009, two members of Cooks' secondary received all-Big Ten accolades and a third player burst onto the scene as a first-year starter.
Safeties Jay Valai and Chris Maragos directed the Badgers' defensive backfield and ranked in the top 10 in tackles on the team in 2009.
Valai was named a second-team all-Big Ten performer for the second year in a row in 2009 while Maragos garnered honorable mention all-conference accolades.
Cooks' star pupil in 2008 was cornerback Allen Langford who earned first-team all-Big Ten plaudits and was named the team's MVP after recording 47 tackles, two interceptions and a team-best 13 pass breakups.
Cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu led the Badgers and tied for third in the conference in 2007 with 16 passes defended en route to being named first-team all-Big Ten.
Free safety Shane Carter was a consensus honorable mention all-conference pick in 2007 after his seven interceptions led the Big Ten and tied for sixth nationally.
In his first season at Wisconsin in 2006, Cooks helped the Badgers lead the nation in pass efficiency defense (84.19 rating), and the 138.3 passing yards allowed per game ranked second in the nation.
Cooks helped Wisconsin allow 111.5 fewer passing yards per game in 2006 than 2005 and opposing quarterbacks only completed 47.8 percent of their passes against the Badgers.
Wisconsin finished 12-1 in 2006 and ranked fifth in the final coaches' poll after defeating Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl.
Each of Cooks' four starting defensive backs in 2006 received postseason recognition from the Big Ten, including Ikegwuonu who earned first-team honors after tallying 41 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups.
Cooks spent one season at Minnesota coaching defensive backs in 2005. His defensive backs allowed opponents to complete just 55.3 percent of their passes during the Big Ten season, second best in the league.
Prior to his year at Minnesota, Cooks coached defensive backs and assisted on special teams for one season at Western Illinois in 2004. The Leathernecks limited opponents to a Gateway Conference-best 157.2 passing yards per game, held opponents to the lowest completion percentage (45.4) in the conference and finished second in the league with 17 interceptions.
Cooks began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kansas State for the 2003 campaign.
A four-year letter-winner and two-year starter as a strong safety at Iowa, Cooks played for the Hawkeyes from 1993-97.
As a senior, he was a team captain and earned all-Big Ten honors.
A fifth-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft, Cooks also played for Green Bay, Atlanta and Jacksonville before retiring from the NFL in 2001. He also played for the XFL's Chicago Enforcers in 2001.
Graduated from Iowa in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in sociology.
S Chris Maragos (Wisconsin), Seattle Seahawks
Former walk-on earned honorable mention all-Big Ten (2009)
Four-year NFL veteran
CB Robert Blanton (Notre Dame), Minnestoa Vikings
2012 fifth-round NFL Draft pick by Minnesota
CB Darrin Walls (Notre Dame), New York Jets
Played in all 16 games, started three, for the New York Jets in 2013
CB Allen Longford (Wisconsin)
2008 first-team all-Big Ten
2006 and 2007 first-team all-Big Ten; 2008 fourth-round NFL Draft pick by Philadelphia