Former all-Big Ten Conference safety and National Football League veteran was promoted to co-defensive coordinator for 2012 and will continue coaching cornerbacks.
Enters his 11th season coaching in college football and his fourth year with Notre Dame's cornerbacks.
Only five scholarship cornerbacks dotted the Irish roster at the start of 2012 - and juniors Lo Wood and Bennett Jackson entered as the favorites to start. Jackson won the job, as did Wood, but Wood was lost for the season following a ruptured Achilles tendon midway through fall practice.
Jackson ranked tied for 39th in the FBS in interceptions (0.31/game). Pretty remarkable when you consider he was in his second season at the position and first as a starter.
KeiVarae Russell switched from running back to corner back 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 youthful and inexperienced secondary in '12, especially first-year starting safety Matthias Farley. The Irish ranked among the top 20 FBS schools in the following pass defense categories: fewest passing yards/completion (9.95, 2nd), fewest touchdown 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.
Gary Gray was the fourth-leading tackler with 67 stops and tied his career-high with two interceptions while adding five pass breakups in 2011.
Helped Lo Wood and Bennett Jackson as capable backups to Blanton and Gray in 2011. Wood returned his first career interception 57 yards for a TD vs. Maryland.
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 and helped improve the production of Darius Fleming, Kerry Neal, Brian Smith and Prince Shembo.
Notre Dame's outside linebackers combined for 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2010.
Fleming tallied career highs of six sacks and 49 tackles and he led the Irish in sacks with 11 tackles for loss.
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.
Valai was named second-team all-Big Ten as a sophomore after posting 56 tackles and forcing three fumbles in his first season as a starter.
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.
Free safety Roderick Rogers was named to the Big Ten second team in 2006 while Langford and strong safety Joe Stellmacher both were named honorable mention all-Big Ten.
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 coaching at his alma mater, Nimitz (Texas) High School, in 2003 before joining the coaching staff at Kansas State as a graduate assistant for the 2003 campaign.
While with the Wildcats, he worked mostly with defensive game plan preparation and assisted with the Kansas State secondary.
A four-year letterwinner 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.
CB Robert Blanton (Notre Dame), Minnestoa Vikings
2012 fifth-round draft pick by Minnesota
CB Darrin Walls (Notre Dame), Atlanta Falcons
Played in four games during rookie season with Atlanta
CB Allen Longford (Wisconsin)
2008 first-team all-Big Ten
2006 and 2007 first-team all-Big Ten; 2008 fourth-round draft pick by Philadelphia