JON COOPER was named the eighth head coach in Lightning franchise history on March 25, 2013. He made his NHL coaching debut at Amalie Arena on March 29, 2013 in a 5- 4 shootout victory against the New Jersey Devils. In a little more than two seasons as the Lightning's bench boss, Cooper has amassed a 100-59-20 record and his .615 winning percentage is the highest in franchise history. Cooper earned his 100th career NHL victory on April 11, 2015, making him the fifth-fastest coach among those who debuted in the league since 2000 to reach that mark. He has led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his two full seasons behind the bench, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. In 2014 he was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL's top coach. Cooper joined the Lightning after spending three seasons behind the bench of Tampa Bay's top minor league affiliates, the Norfolk Admirals (2010-12) and the Syracuse Crunch (2012-13), compiling a 133-62-26 (.661) record in 221 AHL games.
The 2014-15 season was an especially remarkable one for Cooper and the Lightning, posting a record of 50-24-8, reaching the 50-win plateau for the first time in franchise history. The Lightning also set a new franchise high for points in a season (108). Tampa Bay led the NHL with 259 goals scored during the regular season and their 32 wins at Amalie Arena were the most in the NHL. The Lightning's success transferred over to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Tampa Bay defeating the Detroit Red Wings in seven games, the Montreal Canadiens in six and the New York Rangers in seven before eventually losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. In the process the Lightning became the first team in the modern era to beat three of the NHL's original six clubs in the same postseason.
Prior to being named the bench boss of the Lightning, Cooper was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's top coach in 2012 after guiding the Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship. In two years in Norfolk he led the Admirals to a 94- 44-18 regular season record and a 17-7 mark in the playoffs. In 2011-12, the Cooper-led Admirals set franchise records with 55 wins and 113 points en route to the organization's first Championship. Along the way, Cooper and his team set a North American professional sports record, winning a remarkable 28 consecutive games. That season Norfolk earned the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season points champion, while also capturing the league's East Division title.
In 2012-13, Cooper led the Crunch to an AHL-best 39-18-8 record prior to his promotion to the Lightning. Syracuse's 218 goals were also the most in the league. More than 10 players were recalled during the season and remained with the Lightning, giving Cooper familiarity with a number of players. Cooper previously ran the Lightning's development camps during his time in the organization.
Before joining the AHL ranks, Cooper also found success in junior hockey. He is the only coach to win a national championship at all three tiers of junior hockey in the United States. Before joining the Admirals, he coached in the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, posting an 84-27-9 record in two seasons. Under Cooper's guidance the Gamblers posted back-to-back seasons with the best record in the USHL and won the 2010 Clark Cup. In 2008-09, Cooper's first season, Green Bay saw a 50-point increase from the previous year, setting a USHL record for largest single-season improvement. He was rewarded with the 2009 and 2010 USHL General Manager of the Year Awards, as well as being named the 2010 USHL Coach of the Year. Cooper also won championships with the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL (Tier II) and the Metro Jets (MI) of the NA3HL (Tier III).
A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Cooper played high school hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. He then moved on to Hofstra University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in business administration. While at Hofstra he was a four-year letter-winner with the men's Division I lacrosse team while also playing one year on the school's club hockey team. He then went on to earn a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, where he practiced until 2003 when he closed his practice to pursue a career in coaching.
Cooper and his wife, Jessie, live in Tampa with their three children.