The U.S. Senior Open announced today that Ed Cooley, the men’s basketball coach at Providence College, and Rodney Harrison, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, have been named honorary chairmen of the 41st U.S. Senior Open Championship, which is set to take place at the Newport Country Club from June 25-28, 2020.
Cooley is in his ninth season at Providence and has led the program to five NCAA Tournament and two NIT Tournament berths in eight years. The Friars, who won the 2014 Big East Conference tournament, have advanced to seven consecutive postseasons for the first time since earning eight straight postseason berths from 1971-78. Providence had qualified for just one NCAA Tournament in the 10 years before Cooley was hired.
“I am very honored to represent the state of Rhode Island and Providence College as an honorary chairman of the 2020 U.S. Senior Open,” said Cooley, who served as the head coach of Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in a press release. “As a native of Providence and someone who has great enthusiasm for the game of golf, I am confident that the Ocean State and the entire New England region will support this national championship.”
Harrison, an All-Pro defensive back with both New England and the San Diego Chargers, played for 15 years in the NFL. He helped the Patriots win consecutive Super Bowls, a 32-29 victory over Carolina in 2004 and a 24-21 decision over Philadelphia the following year. Harrison is a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and San Diego’s 50th anniversary team.
“Coach Cooley and I not only have a passion for golf but for competitive athletics and all the great things that can be learned through sports,” said Harrison in a press release. “It is an honor to help support this championship. I know New England’s golf fans[RD1] will join me in welcoming the game’s greatest senior players to Newport.”
Cooley guided Providence to five consecutive 20-win campaigns from 2014-18, including a 24-11 record in 2016 when the Friars defeated USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and achieved their highest national ranking (No. 8) since 1977. Cooley was previously the head coach at Fairfield University and played at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., where he was a three-time captain.
Harrison, a studio analyst for NBC Sports’ Football Night in America since 2009, was the first player to record at least 30 interceptions (34) and 30 sacks (30.5) in a career. The hard-hitting safety, who was a two-time All-American at Western Illinois University, posted seven interceptions in 13 career NFL playoff games. In 1997 with the Chargers, Harrison became the first player in NFL history to score touchdowns on a fumble return, interception return and kickoff return in the same season.
“Ed Cooley and Rodney Harrison will be excellent ambassadors for the U.S. Senior Open and Newport Country Club,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships in a press release. “They have accomplished great things in the sports world, served as respected leaders in their communities and have a deep interest in the game of golf.”
In their honorary roles, Cooley and Harrison will support the fifth USGA championship to be held at Newport Country Club, a total that includes the first-ever U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open Championships in 1895. Newport also hosted the 100th U.S. Amateur in 1995, the second of three consecutive victories in that championship by Tiger Woods, and the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open, the last of Annika Sorenstam’s three victories in that championship.
The U.S. Senior Open Championship, for golfers age 50 and older, is open to any professional and any amateur with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4. Players who are eligible to compete include defending champion Steve Stricker, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Davis Love III, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk.