John Loose is in his second stint with the Army Black Knights and 17th season overall on the Banks of the Hudson.
In 2021, Loose oversaw the breakout campaign of OLB Andre Carter, who set the program record for sacks in a season with 15.5, surpassing Josh McNary’s mark of 12.5 set in 2009. Carter’s mark finished second in the entire FBS behind Will Anderson (17.5, Alabama).
He was elevated to assistant head coach/linebackers coach prior to the 2020 season after spending the 2019 season as the team’s defensive coordinator. Loose helped coach up a defensive unit that finished first overall in total defense in 2020, allowing only 275.3 yards per game. The Black Knights also ranked in the country’s top 5 in scoring defense (2nd – 14.83 ppg), red-zone defense (2nd – .645 scoring pct.) and passing yards allowed (2nd – 160.8 ypg). ?
With his help, Army secured the Commander-in-Chief Trophy in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2012-13. Army’s defense was dominant in the rivalry games against Navy and Air Force, holding the Falcons to only seven points and shutting out the mids for the first time since 1969. He served as the interim DC during Army’s 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl victory over Houston, in which the Black Knights held the Cougars to just 14 points while registering a program record 10 sacks. Loose is no stranger to the defensive coordinator position having been in that role at Lafayette College for 14 seasons, from 2000-13, and at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for three years from 1989-91. Since making his second stop at the Banks of the Hudson in 2014, Loose has been at the forefront of the Black Knights’ safeties. The last two seasons he helped guide a secondary that ranked 21st and 14th in the nation against the pass.
In 2018, Loose mentored junior Jaylon McClinton and senior James Gibson to the fourth and fifth most tackles on the team, respectively. McClinton accumulated 54 tackles, including 37 solo shots. The Charlotte, N.C., native added four tackles for a loss of 17 yards, one sack for a loss of nine yards, and two interceptions for 11 yards. He also registered six pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Gibson did much of the same this past season, earning 41 total tackles with 25 of those being unassisted. The Centreville, Va., native tallied four tackles for a loss of 21 yards and two sacks for a loss of 11 yards. Gibson posted two pass breakups and one forced fumble as well.
The Black Knights were also eighth nationally in total defense allowing just 295.5 yards per game, while their third down conversion percentage defense was fourth in the country at 26 percent. In 2017, Gibson was teamed up with then senior Rhyan England in the backfield. Gibson was instrumental in Army’s success with 45 total stops, including a game-saving one against Eastern Michigan on a two-point conversion that sealed the Black Knights’ victory over the Eagles. England missed a few games due to injury that year but had 33 tackles and one fumble recovery. Max Regan, who saw significant time with England injured, made 33 stops along with a team-leading two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown in the 49-12 victory over Rice. During the 2016 season, Loose tutored senior Xavier Moss and England to 57 and 53 tackles, respectively. The pair also had two interceptions on the year. Moss led the team with five pass breakups and had an interception and a forced fumble in the win over Navy. Loose was a key leader on the defensive staff that year as he helped guide Army to fourth in the nation in total defense and sixth against the pass. Army improved from six interceptions in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
In 2015, Loose mentored Moss in his transition to the secondary after spending two seasons on the offensive side of the ball. Moss was third on the team with 67 tackles along with one interception and five pass breakups. England had 64 tackles in 2015 under Loose with three tackles for loss, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery. During the 2014 season, Loose coaches a young safeties group. Hayden Pierce, the lone senior starter, registered 45 tackles, despite missing a game. Pierce broke up three passes. Junior Luke Proulx made 28 tackles in eight games and classmate Michael McFadden competed in nine contests.
Under Loose’s guidance, Lafayette consistently was among the top-25 defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision. In the 2013 season, Lafayette topped rival and 15th ranked Lehigh 50-28 and advanced to the national playoffs. During that season he also led his Lafayette defense to an upset of then unbeaten and No. 5-ranked Fordham, 27-14. In 2012, Lafayette featured four All-Patriot League selections, while the 2010 squad boasted three all-league choices. The American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2008, Loose and his wife, Marianne, started Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation. The organization was founded in 2004 and raises money for pediatric brain tumor research. The Foundation has generated more than $2 million and blossomed into the largest one-day football clinic in the country. Among the many all-stars Loose has coached is Andy Romans, a two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year who helped the Leopards finish the 2008 season eighth in the nation in scoring defense (17.6 points per game), 10th in rushing defense (just 92.2 yards per game) and 20th in total defense at 303.2 yards per contest. Lafayette boasted the top defense in the nation in 2007. Under Loose’s leadership, Lafayette allowed an NCAA-best 260.9 yards per game and ranked fourth in rushing defense at 85.7 yards per game. The Leopards led the Patriot League in rushing defense in 2006 at 139 yards per contest, while the 2005 team ranked in the top 20 in five categories. Linebacker Maurice Bennett helped pace the defense prior to his graduation in 2006, was a finalist for the Buchanan Award and was chosen as an All-American by five organizations. Blake Costanzo played linebacker the same season and completed eight years in the NFL. Before Lafayette, Loose coached at Army for eight seasons under Bob Sutton. In 1996, Army ranked sixth nationally in rushing defense during a 10-2 campaign that included an appearance in the Independence Bowl.
Prior to his time at Army, Loose worked as defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Loose started his coaching career at the University of Albany in 1987 where he coached the secondary and earned his Master’s in Program Development and Evaluation. Loose was a track and field star at Ithaca College where he was an All-American in 1986 and a five-time NCAA qualifier in the high jump. At one time he held the school record at 6-feet, 10¼ inches for outdoors and 6-feet, 10 inches for indoors, both of which were marks that stood for more than 30 years.
He earned four letters in indoor and outdoor track and field prior to his graduation in 1987. He earned a degree in physical education with a minor in Psychology.
Loose and his wife, Marianne, have two daughters, Lauren and Grace, and reside at West Point.