ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Winthrop Athletic Director Tom Hickman has announced that Kevin Cook, a veteran collegiate and WNBA coach for more than two decades, has been named the new Winthrop women's basketball head coach. Cook replaces Marlene Stollings, who left after one year to accept the head coaching position at VCU.
"I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as the next women's basketball coach here at Winthrop," said Cook. "I want to thank President (Anthony) DiGiorgio and Athletic Director Tom Hickman for their faith and belief in me. We have a good nucleus of players returning and I want to thank them for all of their efforts in making this possible. I also want to thank previous head coach Marlene Stollings for bringing me here to such a fine institution as Winthrop."
Hickman said that Winthrop is indeed fortunate to have someone with the experience and integrity of Kevin Cook already on the Winthrop coaching staff.
"Kevin has been a successful coach both as an assistant and as a head coach at many different levels. From the junior college ranks to the WNBA, as well as international competition, he has been a part of successful programs. Possibly one of his most significant accomplishments was the transformation of the women's basketball program at Gallaudet University, taking them from obscurity to the NCAA Division III Tournament. We know that the continued growth of the women's basketball program at Winthrop will be in good hands."
Winthrop fans can expect more of the same type of playing style from the Eagles under Cook's leadership.
"Last year we liked to get it up and down the floor and we'll do the same thing. I'll use a term that our men's coach Pat Kelsey uses. We're going to try to run down hill."
Cook's experience goes beyond the collegiate level as he was on the staff for 10 years of the Houston Comets dynasty of the WNBA. The Comets captured the first four WNBA championships and made the playoffs nine out of the first 10 years. He also served as an assistant coach for the victorious West squad in the WNBA's first three All-Star games. For capturing its championships, Cook accompanied the Comets players and coaches to four different White House visits where the teams were recognized for their achievements. Cook was able to meet former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during his time with the Comets. In July 2011 the WNBA released its Top 15 Players of All-Time list and four Comet players that Cook coached made the list (Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson).
Prior to his arrival with the Houston Comets, Cook served as an Associate Head Coach for the University of Houston from 1995-97. From 1983-1993, Cooke was an assistant coach at the University of Kansas under Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Marian E. Washington. During his time in Lawrence, Cook helped the Jayhawks to four conference championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances and two WNIT berths.
In the four seasons prior to his arrival at Winthrop, Cook served as the head coach of Gallaudet University, where he led his team to a 24-4 record during the 2010-11 season and was named the WBCA Region III Coach of the Year. Gallaudet is the world's only all-deaf college.
Cook's international coaching experience comes from having led the Nigeria women's basketball national team. He coached the Nigerian national team in the 2006 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil and in 2007 he helped guide the team to a 7-1 record for a Silver Medal at the All-Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria. In addition he's served as a coach for several traveling teams, including teams that traveled to Brazil and Russia, and coached a traveling team that defeated the 2001 University of Connecticut squad.