Supporters of Coach Cook pack school board chambers

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Cloverdale citizens lined up outside the Arthur L. Johnson Administration Center Monday evening to speak to the board about last month's decision to not reinstate Bruce Cook's head girl's basketball coaching contract.

A capacity crowd filled the seats at Cloverdale's Arthur L. Johnson Administration Center for Monday evening's school board meeting.

The reason they were all there was apparent -- Coach Bruce Cook. At last month's meeting, Cook's position as head girl's basketball coach was taken from him when the board decided not to renew his contract. Since then, signs have been popping up all over Cloverdale supporting Cook.

At the meeting, all five senior players stood up and told the board they should reconsider. One by one they stood before the board pleading with them to allow Cook to remain as coach for one more year and how they support Cook.

Mark McCammon, Senior Kristin McCa-mmon's father, was next to address the board.

"We have a petition with 290 signatures to reinstate Coach Cook," Mark said. "Coach Cook has done nothing but bring positives to this school, all we're asking for is one more year."

Mark also stated how he understands the board is forced to make hard decisions like this sometimes and they didn't make a mistake. However, he said that they had the chance to do something great if they will reinstate Cook for another year.

"At this time, all the good coaches already have jobs. If you find a coach this late in the game, there is a reason they are not already employed," Mark said.

Former coach Al Tucker stood up and told the board and crowd how he initially told Cook to just forget it and move on.

"I talked to Bruce right after it happened and said obviously the board is against you -- it's just time to move on […] then I asked him if he would even want to coach. He told me the night it happened he didn't want to, but the next day after the five senior girls came, he would," Tucker told the board. "Cookie already said he would turn in his resignation if he was given the chance to coach for one more year. The right thing to do is give Coach Cook one more year and I guarantee you he will resign after this year."

Newly appointed Board President Pam Hepner stated that the board will take all comments under consideration. She also asked for a copy of the petition.

At this time, no decisions have been made as to whether they will hold a special meeting regarding this topic, or if they will wait until August's regularly scheduled meeting.

The board also elected new officers at the meeting. Pam Hepner was elected as new president, Linda Mann is now vice president and Donna Fidler is the new secretary. The board will also continue to receive $1,500 compensation per year and meet at the same time on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Carrie Milner stated that school sign-up would be in the Middle School Café on Aug. 5 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. then 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. For Kindergarten and all new students, it will be on Aug. 7 and 8.

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  • I'm not sure why in the world everyone was talking about having coach Cook returned to his position for ONLY one season.If he should still be allowed to coach,why just one year? I'd think the chance to correct shortcomings of the past and to be more aggressive and thorough and establish more connection w/the lower grades and continued improvement should be the "carrot"dangled.Not,just one year because my daughter has one more year or "we 5 seniors want our way" Heck,what about next years seniors? Wouldnt we have the same thing all over?,Then the following years seniors? Either he is ok or not ok,not its about us or our daughter.Seems selfish.I think most people would be happy w/a situation where,if given a chance,he meets certain criteria.Maybe he could give the offense/defensive playbooks to the younger girls grades,have their coaches teach his philosophy,his tempo,ect.He does deserve major input in selecting his coaches in the midle school as well. Maybe offer the 5-8 grade girls team members a free seat in the section behind the varsity bench during games.They might learn many things from that.Those coaches he helps select should be right behind him on the bench during varsity games too.They should be learning his style,his ways and learning as much as possible. Just be pro-active. If he does things showing his efforts to be worthwhile,than JUST NEXT YEAR wont need mentioned. He would be there for as long as he wants.This is the road to follow,not "hey the board made the right decision,but can he coach one year just for us" is not.Those ready for the change in direction w/the girls program never wanted a change in coaches,just a change in how the job was being done.It is NEVER about the coach personally. I think many,including myself think the world of Coach Cook,and would love him to be the coach.But the job needs guidelines and goals to be set and followed and monitoring by the AD,Mr.Stoltz,whomever. Thats true of all our coaches in every sport.I'm hoping this turns out w/a good,smart healthy ending that makes sense,for all the student/athletes,not just this years.Good luck Coach,Board and the kids....

    -- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 9:27 AM
  • it isnt really about 'we 5 seniors want our way'. of course they are teenagers and that is expected but they said more then that if you were listening. he has been more then a coach to these girls. he has been a teacher, a leader, a friend, a role model. that was evident from the girls that left 4 years ago taking time from their new life to come back and support him. i have seen him over the years at middle school games watching the younger girls, while they say he is not involved with the lower level. how can he be when the program is monopolized by parents of kids on the teams who may or may not even be good athletics. not about the coach? have you participated in sports? it takes a special person to first see the ability and then make them a part of the team. i have seen several very good athletics sit on the bench all the way through middle school and never given a chance to play until the end of the game for maybe 2 minutes so the parents wont complain then oddly enough come into the high school program and they are a vital part of the team. this is not just basketball all sports are like this and it is a shame it usually takes a well know last name to even make the team in middle school which usually is where a kids chance to participate in sports is made or their dream is killed. he made a difference but obviously that wasnt what the school board was looking for, so appealing to what they are looking for was necessary. looking at the teams record, reviewing the teams academic records, the achievments of the program overall were all available to the board memebers the first time they made their decision. as a parent of kids that are in several sports at cloverdale i learned early to expect these things and i teach my kids about the real world so they are ready when they leave this small town mentality but i must say, i think the board made a mistake here. Coach Cook is a good coach that not only benefited the kids he has coached but also the school and the community.

    -- Posted by meangreenparent on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 11:07 AM
  • I have heard nothing but good things about the board meeting last night and how the girls and parents presented themselves in a professional manner. It's time for the board to step up, swallow their egos and do the right thing and let Cook finish this year and start looking for a replacement. Like the article says, if there are still coaches looking for jobs this late in the year, there is probably a good reason. Why should we inherit someone else's problems when we know what we are getting with Coach Cook.

    -- Posted by cloverfan2008 on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 11:09 AM
  • I dont think that he should be reinstated as coach. One more year that wouldnt be fair to the Following Seniors in the Class of 2010. It seems to me that the seniors this year do not care about the underclassmen because they just want Coach Cook one more year. Is that fair? No.

    It doesn't look like Coach Cook cares about the Junior Varsity to me. He just leaves it to the Junior Varsity coach to deal with. Why do those 5 seniors just want Coach Cook back? How is that fair to Coach Cummings and Coach Brown.

    Nothing has been mentioned about those two coaches.

    The school board needs to make the right choice in not bringin back Coach Cook. The Town will not think very highly of the schoolboard if they let a coach ro teacher go. Oh they deserve a second chance. No it doesnt work that way.

    -- Posted by CloverDaLe01 on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 3:45 PM
  • Why would a coach want to come back for just one more year knowing he had the entire school board looking over his shoulder all the time? It would be hard to find a decent coach at this point in the year (just a few weeks away from school starting) unless that new coach was already employed by the school system.

    -- Posted by purple_heat on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 4:18 PM
  • I'm like some other people here... what's this "we don't think you made a mistake, but let him coach for one more year..." Wow! Cloverdale! What a show this is.

    -- Posted by FAW on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 4:33 PM
  • uh? junior varsity support? where were you for the board meeting? still mad that a freshman got to start before you? 'team' also requires dedication. if a freshman shows the dedication then that is who should be on the floor. like a group of senior girls that showed up all summer every summer for every game varsity and junior varsity over the past three years even if just to sit on the bench and watch the upperclassmen. of course our support was also for Cummings and Brown. they also played a big part in getting the last seasons records and getting the girls ready, but as pointed out the board has already decided they dont want the program they have. the story may reflect that all that was said was lets keep Cook for one more year but it wasnt. it was brought up that the summer program is the start of a new season. let him finish what he started. I have only seen a couple of the underclassmen that are even dedicated to the program right now who show up for practice and one 8th grader with her parents at the board meeting, so they wont be affected by a new program next year.

    -- Posted by meangreenparent on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 4:56 PM
  • FAW is right.

    From what I have heard of the Mark McCammon, the statement he made "...they didn't make a mistake. However, he said that they had the chance to do something great if they will reinstate Cook for another year." sounds just like McCammon. If the board did not make a mistake, why reverse their decision unless for personal gain???

    What the board needs to do is to reflect on the information given to them by Mr. Hacker and if it was false, ask for his resignation.

    -- Posted by gingb2 on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 8:00 PM
  • the reason the talk is about "one more year" is that it was all ready agreed the coach cook would be resigning following this season. he had that in mind before any of this started. whether the school board knew that or not, im not sure, but now they do. the girls are not standing up and saying "bring him back for one more year and forget about the other girls". it has nothing to do with their own selfish desires. but if notice was given that he would be resigning after this year the board would have time to look for a replacement, and the younger girls would have an idea of who would be their coach a long time before the season started, as opposed to two weeks before school begins. and i dont think the personal attacks on anyone are really necessary either. unless you were at the meeting and heard what was said, all you have to go on is this article. gather facts, then voice your opinion.

    -- Posted by mrclover74 on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 9:13 AM
  • The board made its decison and hopefully it WAS based on its information regardless of where that info came from.3 of the members have extensive sports backgrounds,you'd think that in talks w/other members and statistics taken from very available websites this group DID hash out all tools they had and made their choice with homework done well.On another note, buckling under this bit of pressure will not bode well for the board nor the Corp. How many recent coaches DID NOT have any chance of rebuttal,pressure,petitions,ect? Why should all coaches in the past that werent renewed stay quiet? I'd be screaming from the tallest building that I was done differently! I'd have an attorney as well.This board has to be consistant and not show favortism nor buckle to pressure from a few.Cloverdale sports has had its share of losing. The overhauling of its coaches and its athletic leadership was needed.I'd imagine few would desire to coach here w/this latest deal,Coach Akers fiasco and the lack of strong leadership in the atletics dept,ect.I hope I'm wrong.I'd love to see our reputation improve,our kids enjoying athletics and to be able to enjoy a sporting event as an alumni.

    -- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 9:36 AM
  • Regarding Mrclover74's comments,it IS very unfortunate that Coach's resignation following this coming season was not known.If he shared that w/the AD or Mr.Stoltz than I wonder why it wasnt brought up at the time of the renewal vote?It sounds like there could be better communications all around.If there is a gap in communications that bad within the coach/AD/Principal circle then that needs looked into for sure.Again,strong leadership,professionalism,and clear communication would have helped.If the board feels a change was needed,I think they wouldnt want to wait a year to do that,but at least everyone involved knows everything they need to know.Hopefully a clear path evolves and progress can begin on getting past this mess.

    -- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 9:53 AM
  • I have talked to several people that were at the meeting and it sounds like some of things said that night are being taken out of context. First of all, the "one more year" comment refers to the fact that he was going to step down after this year anyway, the girls are not asking for anything other than what they had already planned on. When the speaker mentioned the word mistake to the board, you could tell he was trying to choose his words carefully and followed it up by saying it was a mistake in the eyes of the girls and their parents, not calling out the board.

    -- Posted by cloverfan2008 on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 11:02 AM
  • Thank you Cloverfan2008 you hit the nail on the head when you said the comments from the meeting were being taken out of context. Everyone who spoke on Coach Cook's behalf did so in a respectable way. I know, because I was there. Regardless of how things were actually said the point was clear...the team deserves to finish their season with Coach Cook. I challenge any of you to put yourselves in front of the school board and a full room of people and try to say everything exactly the right way. I guarantee you would be a bit more nervous speaking publicly than you are sitting at home posting blogs under code names so that no one knows who you are.

    As for Clovertucky's 9:36am posting...Was it that recent coaches did not have any chance of rebuttal or that they chose not to pursue a reinstatement? Maybe they didn't have the support that Coach Cook has? Hmm something to think about. Coach Cook has the support of players, parents, and the community. There is your difference. Don't try to turn that kind of support into a negative, because it's not. People have to take some iniative and make things happen or else nothing would ever get accomplished.

    I would like to conclude with saying...The rug was pulled out from under these girls at the June meeting when the Board elected not to renew Coach's contract. (I'm still not even sure why it happened.) I'm not just speaking about the seniors but all of the girls. It's not any of their fault yet they are the ones who are going to pay for it. I would like the Board call a special meeting and resolve this issue asap so Coach Cook can have a few more practices before the summer is over. Time is running out.

    -- Posted by LAD on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 12:16 PM
  • MY NAME is Allie. Unlike some I like to stick up for what I believe in and im not going to hide behind my computer!!

    I just want to say we love all our coaches. Curt and Brown know that. We have to fight for Cook first. Who says we aren't going to fight for them also?

    My final thought is this, there is a big difference knowing you are not going to have the same coach the next year and being prepared for it. Not like what we are going through, having our coach one day at a game but the next day not he's not at practice. We have already started our season with Cook and we would like to finish it with him. The girls next year would already know they would have a new coach so it wouldn't be a surprise like this year!

    -- Posted by LAD on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 5:59 PM
  • Clovertucky,

    This is Kristin McCammon of the Varsity Basketball Team, you obviously dont live in Cloverdale so why do you get on here all the time and leave stupid comments about issues that dont effect your life at all. These issues do however effect mine. I do live in Cloverdale and this is my senior year and if you care so much about the things that happen in my life then why dont you come to a game sometime. Then you might get to meet the people that you have been gossiping about for the last month face to face. Im sure Coach Cook would love to meet you, since all you have done is put him down. If you think that he cares about what you say about him you're wrong. But I do. I guess it is hard for me to understand how a stranger can judge someone as nice as Mr. Cook and make him out to look like a fool. He is the nicest person you will ever meet and you're treating him like dirt. You don't even know him, so leave him and our team alone.

    P.S.- If you dont live in Cloverdale why are you sucking up to the schoolboard so badly?

    It's wrong of people to hide behind made up names just so they can say whatever they want without consequences.

    I guess i will tell you all why it matters to us that Coach Cook be our coach for one more year. Even though it is none of your business. We've known since we were freshmen that when we are done, he is done. That's all there is to it. It was his goal. I've waited 3 years to stand up at the sports banquet in front of every winter sport athlete with their parents and listen to Coach Cook talk about my career and I intend to do so. None of you people would understand. Obviously you have never felt as strongly about something as we 5 seniors do about keeping him around.

    ABOUT THE JV: Coach Cook has never been any of the incoming juniors' coach. None of them have ever played a game of varsity basketball, and since Coach Cook is the varsity coach that would mean that he isn't their coach. Doesn't that make sense? Being that nobody from the junior class is losing their coach I think it is safe to say that they will handle Coach Cook not being there for their senior season a lot better than us. They will have a whole year to look forward to another coach coming in. They will feel just as they would've felt when they moved up from JV to varsity. If next years seniors want him to be their coach, then they can go to the schoolboard and ask for another year. They could've even came to the meeting with us on July 14th and tried to keep him through their senior season if they wanted him that badly, but they weren't there, and we were not there to fight their battles for them. We had a purpose, and we didnt waiver from what we were there to do. Those girls have to learn sometime that if they want something done they have to do it themselves.

    AND ANOTHER THING: We were thrown under the bus. Totally blindsided. Monday night he is coaching us through a game, Tuesday morning he isn't our coach anymore. That is what isnt fair cloverdale01. So dont sit there and hide behind your made up name and tell me what is fair. Coach Cook is a leader and a friend and someone that I look up to. Apparently you either dont know him, or you are just pretending not to see the truth.

    -- Posted by angryplayers on Thu, Jul 17, 2008, at 5:12 PM
  • I find angryplayers comments very interesting. The truth is the only reason she wants Coach Cook to keep his job is so she can contine to throw her temper tantrums on the beach. This would also include her foul language on the court. He allowed this to happen. It is also a known fact that in the summer league at Cascade at least one Cloverdale player has received a technical foul in every game they have played (again for foul language). In fact the last game was called because of so many technicals (including one on angryplayer and her father). Am I an outsider? No. I have seen these things first hand. No matter has nice of a man Coach Cook is, maybe the board was taking a different direction because he can't control the team.

    -- Posted by dell on Sat, Jul 19, 2008, at 9:35 AM
  • Dell hits it on the head.Angryplayer(fitting) has acted that way her whole athletic career.Dell is also correct that Coach doesnt control his team and that stuff has gone on all along.Cook IS a nice guy and I've said that in every post.However,he is lacking in many depts. His job and its duties isnt to be "best buds" w/the team. Have a good relationship yes,buds,no.Its amazing that angryplayer says that Cook is not the JV's coach and has nothing to do w/them, so it doesnt matter what they may want or feel.Thanx angry,that proves many peoples point about Cook not having much to do w/lower levels of HIS "program" Heck,if he has little to no contact w/the Jv,let alone the middle school or freshmen...nuff said!Just read her comments and count the,me,mine,I and "us seniors" Seems very selfish.What kind of team chemistry does this program have to hear its senior leadership talk like that about classes immediately behind her and on the SAME team? Some program.Someone has said Coach teaches us many things aside from sports.Hopefully some were just absent the day they talked about "team" ,togetherness/unity and selfishness.The technical fest at cascade shows the wrong way to represent Cloverdale,where did that behavior come from? Is that what they have learned in this program?As for me sucking up to the board...thats a good one,I could care less about that board,its been a mess for years. I happen to agree w/them this time around. I also think they are moving in the right direction where their hands arent tied.I graduated from Cloverdale so yes I'll always have an opinion.Thats the beauty of a forum like this. I as well as others you disagree with have just as much right as you to share your opinion. Get over urself.

    -- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Sat, Jul 19, 2008, at 8:10 PM
  • I am a former cloverdale student and athlete,,,,and I know first hand how coaches are treated,,,, it's always their fault when a player doesn't perform to someone elses expectations......but it seems to me that this coach has a good team of players ,, and they respect and respond to him ,,, so why is he being punished ???? Rather than being judged by a few "community people" who may or may not ever have had a student athlete in the school?????

    -- Posted by casey1671 on Sun, Jul 20, 2008, at 11:42 PM

    -- Posted by harvey on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 12:28 PM
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