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 five seasons as the Lightning's bench boss, Cooper has amassed a 242-143-40 record -- his .616 winning percentage is the highest in franchise history -- while guiding the Bolts to three of the previous four Eastern Conference Finals or better, including the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. 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. 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.
During the five full seasons with Cooper behind the bench (2013-18), the Lightning have enjoyed consistent success on the ice, averaging more than 100 points per campaign. Tampa Bay's 242 wins since Cooper's hiring are the sixth-most in the entire NHL during that span. They have also been one of the league's best offensive teams during that time, ranking third in the NHL with 1,277 goals. The Lightning have also played in more Stanley Cup Playoff games since 2013 than all teams but four (PIT, NYR, CHI, ANA). Their 25 playoff wins during that time are also the fifth-most in the league, and Tampa Bay's 36 wins since the 2015 playoffs are the second-most (PIT). In addition, the Bolts are the only team in the NHL to appear in three of the previous four conference finals.
Cooper and the Bolts continued to build on their successes in 2017-18, earning the Eastern Conference's best record of 54-23-5. Along the way, Tampa Bay set franchise records for wins (54), road wins (25), points (113), road points (53), goals (290), home goals (145) and road goals (145). The Lightning led the NHL for wins and goals for, while also having the league's third-best power play with a 23.9 conversion percentage. Once again the Bolts' regular season success help propel the team to the Eastern Conference Final, but they fell in Game 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion for the second time during Cooper's tenure.
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, and the first for a Lightning affiliate. 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.
Before joining the AHL ranks, Cooper also found success in junior hockey. He is the only coach to win a national championship in all three tiers of junior hockey in the United States. Before joining the Admirals, he coached the USHL's (Tier I) 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) in 2007 & 2008 while being named the league's Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2008. Cooper also guided the Metro Jets to the NA3HL (Tier III) national championship in 2002.
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 (now Western Michigan University Cooley Law School) in Lansing, Michigan, where he practiced until 2003 when he closed his practice to pursue a career in coaching.
Cooper is active with a number of charitable causes. Among others, he continually participates in the battle against pediatric cancer and holds an annual event called Coop's Catch for Kids, a charity fishing derby which benefits local childhood cancer research and care organizations.