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Whedon said in an interview that this was done so that people who saw Avengers I but have not watched AoS would not be confused. That said, Coulson could have been there to hand over project Theta, and had a quick moment with the team with some quip about how they revived him.
I am surprised that I haven't heard any Whedon-hater complain that he put a character into the story that essentially looks at the audience and literally says "I bet you didn't see that coming" as he is killed off. LOL.