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Mike Cooke joined the Columbia football staff in January 2012 as a defensive assistant, working specifically with the Lions’ linebackers.

Zach Olinger and Mike Waller enjoyed the finest years of their careers under Cooke in 2012. Olinger was a second team All-Ivy Leaguer, posting a team-best 89 tackles to go with a sack and interception returned for a touchdown. Waller saw his numbers improve by 30 (47-77) tackles from his junior to senior season to earn All-Ivy League honorable mention status.

In 2011, Cooke coached Central Connecticut State’s linebackers where he guided Lorenzo Baker to his first All-Northeast Conference postseason honor. Cooke also coached for two seasons at Brooklyn's Boys & Girls High School, his alma mater.

Cooke was a second team all-conference selection in his senior season at Central Connecticut State in 2008. A captain as a senior, Cooke finished the season with 54 tackles, including nine for a loss, and had three sacks. That season, the Blue Devils finished with a 7-4 record.

The Brooklyn native spent two seasons with the Blue Devils after transferring from Lackawanna Junior College where he was also a captain in his final season.

In his two seasons at Central Connecticut State, Cooke amassed 94 total tackles, including 33 solo, and had five sacks.  He had one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in 22 games.

Cooke graduated from Central Connecticut State in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in sociology and marketing.


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