Jake Cookus Named Safety Coach at UM

By DAVE GUFFEY, for GoGriz.com

Jake Cookus will coach the safeties at The University of Montana, announced Griz mentor Mick Delaney today (Wednesday, Jan. 16).

Cookus has coached at fellow Big Sky Conference school Weber State the past seven seasons.  While there he served as the special teams coordinator from 2005-2011, was the co-defensive coordinator from 2009-11, and also worked with the safeties and cornerbacks.

In his stint with the Wildcats he was responsible for all areas of the special teams, and for his last three seasons in Ogden he oversaw all aspects of defensive play-calling, game preparation, and game planning.

“I feel very fortunate to get a good, young coach with the experience that Jake has both as a player and as a coach,” said Delaney via a phone interview.  When he was the defensive coordinator at Weber State they had some very good defenses, plus he was also a special teams coordinator and did a very nice job in that area as well.

“I am just excited for him to get here and get to work,” said Delaney, who is out of state on the recruiting trail.  “He brings a ton of energy like Ty (Gregorak, UM’s defensive coordinator), Aric (Williams, the Grizzlies’ cornerbacks coach), and Legi (Suiaunoa, the Griz D-line coach) do.  I think he’s a real good addition to the defensive side of the football.

“Jake has great knowledge of the position because he was an outstanding player at Oregon State,” Delaney continued; “where he played for both Dennis (Erickson) and Mike Riley.  We are just excited to have him.”

At WSU he recruited the states of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, as well as in San Diego and Northern Utah, and he was the coordinator for the team’s walk-on program.

Prior to his position at WSU he was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, where he was involved in recruiting and assembled and coordinated scout team offense and special teams, and he also worked with the safeties.

He began his coaching career in 2002, when he coached the outside linebackers at Southern Oregon University.  That year he also served as a track and field coach at Corvallis High School (Oregon) and coached the men’s and women’s pole vault.

A native of Roseburg, Oregon, Cookus played college football at Oregon State, where he was a team captain and honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a senior in 2001.  He was also a Strength and Conditioning All-American as a senior.  He earned four letters playing for the Beavers.

He played quarterback and defensive back at Roseburg High School and was a three-sport standout there, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball.  His senior season, he threw for 1,449 yards and 18 touchdowns, and rushed for 943 yards and 17 TDs.  He led his prep teams to a 28-0 record and two state titles his junior and senior seasons.  He was named Oregon’s 1996 Player of the Year by USA Today.

Cookus graduated from OSU in 2001 with a degree in business finance and a minor in athletic administration.

He will begin his job at Montana this Friday, Jan. 18.

Coach Delaney said he would be announcing the hiring of two more assistant coaches to his staff on Thursday (Jan. 17).