The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is mourning the death of a critical member of the faculty. D.J. Looney, an assistant coach, died on Saturday morning at the age of 31. The team confirmed the news with a statement on Saturday and revealed that the cause of death was a heart attack.
"The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Department of Athletics mourns the sudden loss of Louisiana Football assistant coach D.J. Looney, who passed away Saturday morning following a heart attack during a team workout at Cajun Field," the team said in a statement. "Looney, 31, was entering his third season on staff, working specifically with the offensive line. At this time, the Department of Athletics asks that fans, friends, and acquaintances of Coach Looney keep his family and the football program in their thoughts and prayers."
Before working for the Ragin' Cajuns, Looney played for the Mississippi State Bulldogs from 2007-2010. He spent three years of his college career serving as an SEC Student Advisory Council Representative. He graduated from MSU with a degree in arts and science before starting his coaching career. Looney first worked as a graduate assistant on Dan Mullen's staff and later joined the Ragin' Cajuns after working for the University of Georgia, Central Arkansas, and East Mississippi Community College.
"The entire Mississippi State Family is deeply saddened and heartbroken by the loss of one of our very own in D.J. Looney," said MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen in a statement. "D.J. was an outstanding student-athlete and coach and an even better person. He had such a positive personality, attitude, and always a smile on his face. D.J. will be remembered and missed by all who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J., his family, his friends, his former teammates, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Mississippi State."
Looney was entering his third season as the assistant offensive line coach for the Ragin' Cajuns. He previously coached tight ends and offensive tackles at Central Arkansas. In his career, he won two bowl games as a player and another as a coach — the TaxSlayer Bowl.
"Rhonda and I were stunned and saddened to learn of the untimely passing of former Bulldog student-athlete D.J. Looney," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "D.J was a tremendous young man with a limitless future. We had a special relationship with him and eagerly followed his successes. His loved ones and friends will remain in our prayers."