Student Assistant Football Coach D.J. Looney

Former Mississippi State offensive lineman turned student assistant football coach D.J. Looney is having a blast since moving into the coaching profession.

"I've told everybody that I having the time of my life," said Looney. "I have never had so much fun. Even though I (thought I) knew a lot about football, I really didn't know a lot. So, I've gotten the chance to learn more. I'm learning more about coverages and schemes. In the past, as a player, I was in offensive line meetings. This past spring I sat in quarterback meetings. So I learned about quarterbacks. And this fall I hope to sit in wide receiver, tight end and running back meetings."

While being on the coaching side is new for Looney, helping coach isn't.

"Even though I was a player, the last couple of years I helped out with the guys when they came onto the sidelines (during a game) or during practice," said Looney. "Guys joked around and called me coach. (But) it was something that I felt I was probably going to do because I love football and I studied a lot on my own and learned the playbook."

He just didn't know moving over to the coaching side of the game would happen as soon as it has.

"I had four knee operations on my left knee so I decided it was in my best interest to go ahead and hang it up," said Looney, who began his coaching career this spring. "(Last season) I met with (Mississippi State assistant) Coach (John) Hevesy and we decided that this was the best route for me to go. I had always dreamed of coaching so I thought I might as well get into it now instead of waiting a year or two."

As you would expect, he is working on the offensive side of the ball.

"I will be with the offense, more than likely with the offensive line," said Looney, who will graduate at the end of this fall. "I will help out wherever I am needed, whether it be breaking down film or anything else."

Once he graduates his hope is to be hired as a graduate assistant coach either at Mississippi State or some other college.

"It will be challenging to (become a graduate assistant coach) but I'm in a great position because I am only 22 (years old) and I am a student assistant coach here," said Looney. "Plus, I have made a lot of contacts. So, if I'm not able to be a graduate assistant here, I hope to be able to go somewhere else and be one. I would like to get on the same track as (MSU assistant coach) Angelo (Mirando)."

Mirando was promoted from graduate assistant coach to assistant coach by MSU head coach Dan Mullen at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Looney, as you would expect, has a plan that goes beyond being a graduate assistant coach.

"I tell people I hope I live to 150 (years old) because I have so many things that I want to do," said Looney. "Without question, I want to be a successful offensive line coach, then a successful head coach, both on the college level. I also want to be an athletic director someday. Then I want to go back to high school as a head coach."

He gives credit to both a former Mississippi State athletic director and the current Mississippi State athletic director for his desire to be a college athletic director.

"(Former MSU athletic director) Greg Byrne helped me out so much with that," said Looney. "And being able to talk to (current MSU athletic director) Scott Stricklin, who is really, really good, has also helped me. He is phenomenal."

Speaking of phenomenal, while most Mississippi State fans feel this past season was a special season, Looney believes 2012 could be just as exciting.

"I think we are going to be a very special football team (this year)," said Looney. "Even though we graduated some great seniors, we have some great players coming back, players like Addison Lawrence, Quentin Saulsberry, Charles Mitchell, Fletcher Cox, Josh Boyd, Sean Ferguson, Corey Broomfield just to name a few. Due to that, I think it will be a big year, a special year."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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