Cook resigns as
Carey cage coach
18 years at the
Express Staff Writer
Northside Conference lost one of its leading youth advocates and class
acts with the resignation of Lee Cook as Carey School’s boys’ varsity
basketball coach Jan. 17.
spent 18 years coaching the Panthers to some of their greatest successes
on the basketball court, including last March’s State A-4 tourney
runner-up finish—best state finish in school history.
down with reluctance after a couple of parent meetings about his coaching,
Carey athletic director Blaine Tingey said. The second meeting was
attended by Carey principal John Peck Jan. 16.
meetings stemmed from a half-time locker room talk by Cook during the home
Northside Conference game against Shoshone Jan. 11. Carey trailed 34-13 at
half-time against one of its chief rivals.
"I got after the kids. I was trying to motivate them and I pulled out
all the stops. I guess a group of parents felt I was being unbearable to
their kids. But I felt I had put my very best foot forward to make them
play the best they could."
wasn’t invited to the parent meetings, had a sleepless night Jan. 16 and
decided to resign early the next morning, after a talk with his wife
Peck and athletic director Tingey both urged him to stay on until the end
of the season, Cook said. But Cook, who had a heart attack a couple of
years ago, decided he didn’t need the aggravation any more.
wasn’t forced to resign or asked to resign. My health is fine. It was
strictly my own doing," said Cook. "I dearly love kids and I
tried my very best. To have people say the things they did, well, I was
very angry and very hurt. And it crushed my family."
replaced by assistant coach and junior varsity head coach Dick Simpson.
Lane Kirkland will assist Simpson on both the varsity and JV the rest of
and physical education teacher at Carey, Cook will continue teaching at
Carey and coaching the junior high girls’ basketball team. He has no
plans to yield his long-time job as assistant coach/defensive coordinator
for the varsity football team.
and farmer who played basketball for Carey coach Ferris Lynn from 1964-66,
Cook took over as Carey’s head basketball coach during one of the
darkest moments in the Carey’s long history.
On July 16,
1984, 35-year-old Scott Peck and his 33-year-old wife Janice were killed
in an auto accident near Jerome. They left five young children and a
coached Carey’s basketball team for four years with increasing success.
His final team, led by All-State player Brad Tingey, captured third place
in the 1984 State A-4 boys’ basketball tournament.
It took his
successor, coach Lee Cook six long winters to re-establish Carey as a
winning basketball program. But starting in 1990, the Panthers became a
"Team of the Decade," posting a 184-86 (68%) record including
five 20-win campaigns from 1991 through 2001.
for Cook (224-185, .548 in 18 years) and his longtime assistant Dick
Simpson included a fourth-place State A-4 tournament finish in 1993 and
third-place result in 1994. In both years, Carey took home the State
coaching success reached its peak last March when Carey (20-9) went all
the way to the state championship game before falling to Mackay 73-46. It
was only the second Blaine County team to play in a state title game—and
the first in 27 years.
Cook children, five boys and a girl, have been Carey School athletes. The
youngest is Tyler Cook, now an eighth-grade student at Carey.