Eric Copeland is in his third year as a graduate assistant coach with the University of Iowa football program. He assists with the Hawkeye wide receivers.
Iowa posted an 8-5 record in 2022, concluding the season with a 21-0 win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl and wins in five of its final six games. Iowa’s streak of 10 straight bowl invitations is the longest in school history and the Hawkeyes have been in the Top 25 final rankings in four of the last five seasons. Iowa’s streak of 10 straight winning seasons ranks 10th best in the nation.
The Hawkeyes won 10 games in 2021, winning the Big Ten’s West Division title and advancing to the conference championship game. Iowa concluded the season with an appearance in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and was ranked 23rd in the final national rankings.
Iowa opened the 2021 season with six straight wins and closed the regular season with four straight victories to earn the West Division title and a berth in the league championship game for the second time since 2015. Iowa has been in the final national rankings in each of the past four seasons and has earned 19 conference wins in the past three seasons, Iowa’s highest three-year conference win total since 2002-04.
Senior Nico Ragaini led Iowa’s wide receivers in 2022 with 34 receptions for 386 yards, increasing his career totals to 124 receptions for 1,352 yards. Ragaini returns in 2023 for a fifth season as a veteran among a number of younger players among the wide receivers. His totals a year ago came despite missing time in the early season due to injury.
Iowa’s receiving group featured a mixture of veterans and newcomers in 2021. Nico Ragaini (26-331-1) and Charlie Jones (21-323-3) led the veterans, while freshmen Arland Bruce, IV (25-209-1) and Keagan Johnson (18-352-2) stepped right in during their season to add depth to the position.
Copeland joins the Iowa staff after serving as a graduate assistant coach at John Carroll University for two seasons, where he coached the defensive cornerbacks. He also worked with the offensive scout team and recruited Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
In his first year at John Carroll, Copeland worked with a secondary that ranked eighth in the nation among Division III programs in passing yards allowed per game (148), with one individual earning honorable mention all-conference honors.
Copeland previously coached at Massillon Washington High School in 2017-18, coaching the defensive line and fullbacks. Massillon Washington’s defense allowed just 14.9 points per game in 2018, finishing the season as Division II state runner-up. Copeland also served as defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator for the junior varsity squad.
Copeland was an offensive assistant in 2017 as Massillon Washington was the OHSAA Division II Region VII champion.
Copeland began his coaching career at Rittman, Ohio, High School in 2015, serving as assistant defensive coordinator. He worked with linebackers, running backs and H-backs, as three Rittman linebackers earned all-conference honorable mention recognition.
Copeland attended the University of Akron, earning his bachelor’s degree in December, 2016, in sports studies, with a concentration in coaching education. He graduated Cum Laude, earning Dean’s List recognition in five of seven semesters. He earned a master’s degree in sport management from Cleveland State in 2020, and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from John Carroll University in 2021.
While at Akron, Copeland worked with the Office of Multicultural Development as a peer mentor, mentoring 25 African American freshmen male students through their first year on campus. Five freshmen students earned Dean’s List honors in multiple semesters. He earned Most Motivated Peer Mentor Award in 2015.
Copeland graduated from Massillon Washington High School in 2013, where he served as football team captain.