South Elgin tabs Cook new boys basketball coach
Jim Cook has been an asset to South Elgin High School academics for the past year and a half.
On Wednesday, he became an asset to Storm athletics as well.
Cook, who previously coached the men's and women's basketball programs at Judson University, was named South Elgin's new boys basketball coach on Wednesday in addition to his roles as Dean's assistant and coordinator of the school's PBIS program (Positive Behavior Intervention Support).
"I saw an opportunity and knowing some of the kids within the school, I decided I can help the kids not just with the education part but also with the athletic part of their lives," Cook said. "I sat and talked to (South Elgin athletic director) Jason (Ward) about it, interviewed, talked some more and it panned out. I'm very excited."
Cook becomes the third boys basketball coach since the program's inception in 2006-07 and its first African-American coach. He replaces Matt Petersen, who was not retained after his second season.
Cook was 87-112 in seven seasons as Judson's head women's coach and went to the NAIA National Tournament in 2006, his first year. He was also the men's coach from 2004-08 and went 53-66 with one conference championship. In 2008, the men's team also qualified for the NAIA National Tournament.
He inherits several returnees from a squad that finished 11-20 and lost to Larkin 62-35 in a regional semifinal, led by Central Michigan recruit Matt Smith. As many as four starters could return next season.
Ward said he expects a smooth transition, partly because Cook is already familiar with his players from an academic standpoint.
"He's just a great guy and he's very well-known around the building," Ward said. "The kids love him and the staff loves him. This was a mutual thing. I knew he had the background so I asked him if he ever thought about getting back into coaching. If so, here was an opportunity.
"He sat down and talked with myself and the other members of the search committee. He has a lot of expertise and knowledge for the game. His passion is working with these young kids and he's awesome at it."
Cook, who played collegiately at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, said readying high school players for the next level is a primary concern.
"My goal is to try to continue to prepare kids for the next level of basketball, which is what it's supposed to be about at the varsity level," Cook said. "I feel I can get them to understand what it takes to play at that level."