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Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns assistant football coach dies after suffering heart attack at team workout Saturday

Posted at 12:47 PM, Aug 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-01 23:48:28-04

Louisiana assistant football coach D.J. Looney died after collapsing at a team practice Saturday morning, the university's athletic program announced Saturday. He was 31 years old.

UL Football was in the middle of a workout with the entire team Saturday morning inside the Cajuns' practice facility, when assistant coach D.J. Looney suddenly collapsed.

After the medical staff tried to resuscitate him, he was transported to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead of a heart attack. The Ragin' Cajun community is heartbroken by his death.

Ragin' Cajun Athletics released the following statement:

"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.

Looney, 31, was entering his third season on staff with the Ragin’ Cajuns, 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."

Head coach Billy Napier and Ragin' Cajuns Football released the following statement Saturday night:

"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."

Looney served as an offensive line coach with the Louisiana football program. He previously coached at East Mississippi Community College, Georgia, and Mississippi State, his alma mater.

He earned his degree from Mississippi State in arts and sciences in 2010.

The first thing Cajuns sideline reporter Cody Junot said about Looney to KATC's Seth Lewis this afternoon? His smile. The UL community is in pain at his sudden loss, but it's not just because he was one of their own. It's because his bubbly personality was the perfect fit in this Louisiana culture.

Many began sharing their condolences over the loss, including Gov. John Bel Edwards and the voice of the Cajuns, Jay Walker.

Cajuns Women's basketball coach Garry Broadhead said, "Saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Looney earlier today. He was a tremendous individual who impacted so many student-athletes. He will be missed dearly."

And Kerry Maggard, wife of Athletic Director Bryan Maggard, added, "This special guy ALWAYS made me feel so welcome and loved...the best smile and the best BEST hugs. Please pray for his family, our young men, coaches, staff, and all who loved DJ."

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