Stillwater News Press

High School Sports

July 5, 2014

Pawnee tabs Cook to replace Houston as football coach

STILLWATER, Okla. — To help keep stability in the program, Pawnee High School hired from within its own staff and a Black Bear alumnus, to become the 2014 head football coach.

Russell Cook will be the second Pawnee coach in three years. Cook takes over for Marlon Houston, who he coached under last fall.

“I like the kids and the kids know who I am,” Cook said. “It was a good transition for me to come in as the defensive coordinator to be the head coach. That made it good for everybody.”

He came back to Pawnee, where he played high school football, a year ago and doesn’t regret the move one bit.

“We made the decision to come back to home to be close to family,” Cook said. “I’ve known some great athletes come through Pawnee and I want to see it back with a winning record.”

At Pawnee, he will be working under two of his former coaches. Pawnee Superintendent Ned Williams was Cook’s junior high school football coach, while Pawnee High School Principal and Athletic Director Bobby Miller was Cook’s high school coach.

“I get to work with the guys that coached me,” Cook said. “Coach Miller is my AD and was my high school head coach. Ned Williams was my junior high football coach and he’s my superintendent. Hopefully I can take a lot of what they taught me and we can get the program back to being strong.”

This marks Cook’s first-ever head coaching job after a handful of assistant coaching positions all over the state. Before his first year at Pawnee, Cook coached at Cushing for two years after years coaching around the area.

He spent one year student teaching and coaching at Tulsa Union while a student at Oklahoma State University. Cook is a 1998 Pawnee graduate. He played running back and linebacker for the Black Bears.

“Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve had great success and I’ve worked under some great coaches,” Cook said. “I’m trying to take everything I’ve learned in my coaching career and hopefully bring it here to Pawnee.”

Cook hopes to restore Pawnee to its winning ways. He said he’s a 3-4 defense coach with plans to keep his offense simple.

“Offensively, we’re going to go back to the fundamentals and keep it simple,” Cook said. “We’ll probably run the flexbone out of the shotgun with a little bit of spread.”

Cook and his Black Bears have been working since school ended. They’ve been in the weight room and working on conditioning during the summer. They will begin practice next month with two-a-day workouts.

“We started summer workouts the first week after school was out,” Cook said. “We’ve had about 30 high school kids showing up for summer workouts every day and we’ve had 15-20 junior high kids showing up every day. I think they were ready for a bit of change and they’re excited. They’ve had a great summer turnout and they’re all showing up and working hard.”

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