In 2006, Joe Coogan was named Benelli USA's brand marketing manager. That same year he helped Benelli develop a persuasive concept for a new TV show, "Benelli On Assignment" (BOA)—now in its fourth season, and premiering on Outdoor Channel in 2010. Coogan was also selected to host the new show, drawing on his background and experience as an outdoor journalist.
Coogan is an avid hunter, shooter, and fisherman, whose passion for the outdoors began at an early age when he accompanied his father on frequent hunting and fishing trips. His father's career as a U.S. Navy pilot took Coogan's family to various parts of the world, many of which offered a range of sporting opportunities. But the most fascinating place of all came about in 1966 when his father retired from the Navy and accepted a flying job with Pan Am based in Kenya, East Africa. While still in his teens, Coogan and his father took advantage of the hunting opportunities available to them as Kenya residents and shared many big game hunting adventures on their own.
In 1972, Coogan graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in journalism and returned to Africa to pursue a long-shot dream of becoming a professional hunter. Fate played a hand when Coogan was introduced to the legendary African hunter, Harry Selby, who offered him a job in Botswana. Coogan jumped at the chance and served a two-year apprenticeship for his professional hunter's license under Selby's guidance. Fully licensed as a professional hunter, Coogan conducted hunting and photographic safaris for most of the next 20 years in Botswana with the top African outfitter, Ker, Downey & Selby Safaris and, later, Safari South.
In 1991, Coogan accepted an offer to join the editorial staff of "Petersen's Hunting Magazine" as feature editor and traded the African bush for the "asphalt jungles" of Los Angeles. After spending seven years in L.A., Coogan was ready for the real jungle again and returned to his old stomping grounds in East Africa, where he spent the next five years conducting safaris for Tanzania's top outfitter, Tanzania Game Tracker Safaris.
"Joe's experience, background and enthusiasm places him in a prime position to work with the outdoor writers who are featured guests on 'Benelli On Assignment,'" said Stephen McKelvain, Benelli USA's VP of Marketing & Communications. "Given his African safari experience and writing background, in addition to his practical gun knowledge and field experience, Joe stepped into "BOA's" hosting role with ease and confidence. He is known and respected in both the US and international hunting communities, and Benelli USA was certainly pleased when he joined our team."