Louie Cook will pace Children’s Parade Friday
Legendary Coach Louie Cook has been named Marshal for the 2009 International Rice Festival Children’s Parade slated for the afternoon of October 16, 2009, as announced by Janet R. Hebert, president.
Cook has been in the coaching field for the past 35 years and 24 of those years he has served as head coach at one of three different high schools in his own Acadia Parish.
In 2006 December Cook joined an elite group of Louisiana high school coaches when he picked up his 200th career win on the gridiron. Currently Cook’s overall record stands at 239-69 with a career playoff record of 52-20 including two state championships and six state final appearances.
“You know when you are in fifth and sixth grade the teachers ask you to write about your career ambitions. Mine was always to coach. I loved athletics and had that burning desire to lead and coach,” he said. “All of my papers were on some sort of aspect that involved coaching and a team.”
Compounding the impulse was Coach Cook’s Dad Lewis, who worked at, and later owned a car dealership just one block west of the old St. Joe High School in Rayne.
“Dad always took care of the St. Joe bus, putting gas in it and getting everything ready for games. In fact, he drove the bus to games and Dave (his younger brother) and I always were with Dad on the bus going to the St. Joe games. I guess I was introduced to football and high school sports at a very early age and I truly loved every minute of it.”
“Dad always felt that I shouldn’t coach. He said it was a hard way to make a living and raise a family.”
“And truly, I would be the first to tell any young coach that if they are in it for the money then they should pursue another dream. Far too many times have I seen young coaches just bounce around from school to school chasing a few more bucks. The next thing you know they are in a situation where they are not happy. There is one thing about this profession, you have to love what you are doing first and foremost.”
Louie was a three-sport letterman for the Rayne Wolves playing football, basketball and running track.
“In those days that was the only three sports offered to student athletes,” he said. “I also played recreation baseball during the summer.”
Cook lettered four years with the Wolf football team and earned All-State honors as a free safety his senior season.
“While I was at USL I met Bob Morgan who was from Rayne and had coached there. He was running a private football, basketball and baseball club in Lafayette and asked me if I wanted to help out in my spare time and during the summers. That’s really where I gained a keen interest into coaching,” he said.
But, the 200 win coach started his career with basketball and baseball on the agenda.
On two separate occasions Cook was offered the opportunity to coach at the college level. And both of the experiences he said were like going to school for a PhD in football. “It was one great learning experience. But, the people I got to know were tremendous and I feel certain both experiences helped me to become a better coach.”
Cook first went to the Cajuns in 1981 for a four year stint as an assistant under Head Coach Sam Robertson then he returned in 1992 as offensive coordinator for Head Coach Nelson Stokley.
The veteran said that right now he has no plans of leaving the game he so dearly loves.
“I have been fortunate. I have coached my brother Robert, cousin Jimbo, and all three of my sons Lewis, Jeff and now Stewart.
Cook is also respectful of his fellow coaches. “Your assistants are the key to the whole thing. You have to get these guys to help you and I have been very fortunate there. Both at Crowley and Notre Dame I have had some assistant coaches surrounding me that were really a huge help. They are willing to work and don’t mind taking the extra step to get things right. This job and those wins did not come from Louie Cook alone. I had help every step of the way. I have had good guys and I let them work.”
Cook is also thankful for the coaches on the other sidelines through the years. “I have made some real true friendships off the field with those guys. We are all in the game for the same thing…the kids. Now as I get older I find more and more of the young coaches calling or stopping by for guidance. I will never be too busy to not sit and just chat with them.”
Cook has been named State Coach of the Year four times and has coached in numerous All-Star games.
He has been married to the former Faye Domingue for the past 35 years.
The festival’s 2009 edition is slated to take place the weekend of October 15-17 in downtown Crowley. View the website for more information on the festival activities at www.ricefestival.com.