Cooney was a key blocker for
standout HC running backs, and also played on the defensive line of
the 1953 team that first in the country against the
run. Cooney played three seasons for the Crusaders on teams
that accumulated a 21-9 overall record, and he was recognized his
senior season as second team All-East.
A standout on the track squad for legendary track coach Bart Sullivan, Cooney was one of the top hammer throwers in Crusader history, breaking the HC record set by National Track Hall of Famer Ed Flanagan by seven feet. In a 1953 dual meet against Boston College, Cooney was the only collegian to ever defeat 1956 and 1960 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Hal Connolly. He finished his track career with 20 first place finishes and one second place finish, as well as a third place finish in the IC4A (east) Championships.