Rovers legend Coppinger moves into the newly-created executive position as the club starts to come to terms with their impending relegation to League Two.
The 41-year-old is tasked with setting the club’s footballing identity, whilst being accountable for the recruitment, analysis, medical and conditioning departments.
Rovers’ hierarchy hope the appointment will foster continuity and stability as well as freeing up manager Gary McSheffrey to concentrate on coaching and team affairs.
Rovers said in a statement released on Friday that Coppinger was the “standout candidate” for the role “due to his unrivalled knowledge of the club”.
The club also revealed that Coppinger has been involved in fact-finding missions as the idea of introducing a head of football operations was explored and is enrolled on the Football Association’s technical director course.
Rovers chairman David Blunt said in the statement: “We are delighted to appoint James in this newly-created position.
“From our recruitment process it was clear that there are few individuals in the game that know and understand this football club in as much depth, or hold as much passion for it as James does.
“That passion extended to the role itself, and it was clear he has envisioned himself in such a position for the last several years.
“He demonstrated clear ideas by which he will mould our football operation to ensure success in the long-term as well as imprinting a lasting identity.
“It is a priority to create cohesion and ensure the culture within our football operation is right, and we are confident James can deliver that.
“After a disappointing year there is plenty of work ahead but we feel that, by creating this role and filling it with the man we have selected, strong foundations will be laid.
“We look forward to a bright future with James leading the way.”