The untimely and stunning death of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns assistant offensive line coach D.J. Looney surprised the entire Cajun community on Saturday, Aug. 1.
According to Sports Illustrated, Looney was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital with a heart attack being the cause. He was 31 years of age.
Looney had been well known for the electric energy he brought each and every day to the sidelines. He mentored former All-American offensive lineman Kevin Dotson, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2020 NFL Draft, as well as current Ragin Cajun O’Cyrus Torrence, a freshman All-American in 2019.
Former Ragin’ Cajun offensive lineman and second round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins Robert Hunt shared his condolences on Twitter, stating, “I love you looney this one hurt THANK YOU for all that you’ve done for me! You kept a smile on my face man we joked during meetings and practice! You will be missed my man love ya coach!”
Hunt said he still wasn’t sure what to think about Looney’s passing during a telephone interview with The Daily Advertiser early Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t really have all my thoughts together, you know, just because ... It’s a crazy time,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem real right now. ... I’m just trying to go with the moment right now, just trying to understand everything.”
Hunt also stressed the importance of Looney in making the offensive line solid as a unit.
The Louisiana offensive line last season was recognized for its outstanding play throughout the year by being named a Joe Moore Award honorable mention.
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Looney played on the offensive line, including time at center, while a student athlete at Mississippi State. He got his coaching start as an offensive graduate assistant on Head Coach Dan Mullen’s Music City Bowl-winning staff in the 2011 season.
Looney was a three-year letterman while at Mississippi State and was listed at 6’1 300 pounds, a somewhat undersized stature for the offensive line, but Looney let his play do all the talking, having much success as a Bulldog.
Off the field, Looney was an incredible recruiting source for the Cajuns due to his genuine, charismatic approach to players. The offensive side of the ball starts with a talented front line and Looney knew just that. He started his ways as the recruiting coordinator at East Mississippi Community College in 2012-13, winning a national championship during that stretch.
“Louisiana mourns the loss of Coach D.J. Looney, who passed away this morning,” Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards tweeted. “Please join (First Lady Donna Edwards) and me in praying for his friends, family, players and the entire @RaginCajuns community during this difficult time.”
Lastly, Louisiana Lafayette Head Coach Billy Napier issued a moving statement on the passing of D.J. Looney, saying, “For those who knew D.J. Looney, we can all agree we were better because of it. We lost a tremendous coach, leader and person today. He sincerely cared for others. He had a unique ability to impact and encourage people in a positive way. His smile and energy will be sorely missed. Our team, his family, friends and many others across the nation mourn D.J.’s passing. Most importantly, we will all share memories of a great human being we were lucky to know. We pray for all involved during this difficult time.”
The Ragin’ Cajun family mourns the death of coach D.J. Looney as we keep his family and friends in our prayers.