The Tampa Bay Lightning today have announced a multi-year contract extension today for head coach Jon Cooper. He is the eighth head coach in the Lightning’s franchise history and is currently the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.
Cooper sports a 302-157-44 record as the Lightning’s head coach and has led the team to five playoff appearances, including three Eastern Conference Finals, and a Stanley Cup Final, in his six full seasons with the team. With his 503 games behind the bench, he is already the second-longest tenured Lightning coach behind John Tortorella with his 535 games.
Cooper is also the winningest coach in Lightning history.
Prior to joining the Lightning as the head coach, Cooper was hired as the head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s AHL affiliate at the time, in 2010-11. He led the Admirals to the Calder Trophy as the AHL Champions in 2011-12. Cooper moved to the Syracuse Crunch in 2012-13 when the Lightning moved their affiliation to Syracuse and coached there until being promoted to the Lightning bench.
Before he made his move to the professional ranks, Cooper also coached the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL and St. Louis/Texarkana Bandits in the NAHL, and coached junior teams in Michigan. Cooper was a lawyer before turning to coaching and never played hockey professionally.
Cooper’s contract with the Lightning was set to expire this summer. With this multi-year extension, it guarantees that Cooper will become the Lightning’s longest tenured coach as he will pass Tortorella sometime next season. According to CapFriendly.com, it is believed that Cooper’s previous contract paid him $2.25 million per season. He most assuredly has received a pay raise in line with the performance he has had behind the Lightning’s bench.