Friday, May 24, 2013

Panthers honor track athletes, salute coach Cook

Holy Mackerel! The truck is still running

Express Staff Writer

Carey High School head foot-ball and girls’ track coach Lane Kirkland (left) thanks outgoing defensive coordinator Lee Cook for his many years of service with a special plaque during Tuesday’s school awards ceremony. Courtesy photo by John Peck

    On Tuesday night during the school’s annual awards program,Carey High School football coach Lane Kirkland told a funny story about the dedication of his longtime assistant coach Lee Cook.

     Kirkland said he believed nobody had heard the story before, even in the small farm community where everybody seems to know everything.

     Cook, 65 on July 18, started his Carey football coaching duties working as assistant coach for head coach Heber Kirkland in 1985. For the next 28 years he roamed the Panther sideline, exhorting his charges as the team’s defensive coordinator, the first 16 years for Heber Kirkland, and the last 12 years for Heber’s son Lane.

     During that time the Carey Panthers won five state eight-man football championships, the last in 2010. Cook had an important role in 208 Carey football wins. He coached and mentored over 500 students, Lane Kirkland said.

     He used his familiar slogan “Holy Mackerel” at least 500 times and possibly more, depending on the officiating crew.

     Cook resigned March 18 as assistant football coach and defensive coordinator for the Panthers. He will continue as athletic director, boys’ track coach and teacher at Carey. He was previously Carey’s head boys’ basketball coach.

     Kirkland’s anecdote Tuesday night went like this:

     Once before a Carey road football game, Cook pulled up to the Panther bus and left his truck running while he tended to several of the numerous little details that go along with organizing a group of young men and all the equipment of a traveling football team.

     He boarded the bus and forgot that his truck was still running. Off the bus and the team went. When the team returned 12 hours later, Cook’s truck was still humming along, right where he left it, toasty and warm for the ride home.

     Cook didn’t dispute coach Kirkland’s account Tuesday when he was honored with a special plaque for his years of service to Panther football. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to coach young men.

     His football contributions go back farther than coaching. Cook played quarterback for four years at Carey while a Panther student starting in 1963, the same year that eight-man football started in Carey. “I had a good arm and slow feet,” Cook said. “Camas County was the king in eight-man football those years.

     “There was only one league in the state at that time, and we played Grandview to a 20-20 tie for the league championship that year of 1963, when I was a freshman and (Carey teacher) Ken Mecham was a sophomore. Wendell Wolfe was our coach. He was a baseball player from the University of Idaho.”

     Cook plans to assume more responsibilities at his church while continuing to teach and coach at Carey, and while devoting more time to his family. He and his wife of 39 years, Sandy, have six children and nine grandchildren.

     Carey also announced the recipients of its track and field awards and sports honors Tuesday.

     Track coaches Lane Kirkland and Cook gave out certificates of participation and letters to members of their teams. Kirkland congratulated the 12 girls on the track team, which placed eighth at the State 1A meet. He called them the “Dynamic Dozen.” Kirkland said, “The girls were so motivated. They peaked at the right time.”

     The Carey girls captured the school’s first district championship under coach Kirkland, won three meets during the season and placed second in three others. The team set three new school records during the State 1A meet in Middleton May 17-18, Jaide Parke achieving two of those in the 3200m and 1600m.

     Receiving plaques as the top four point-getters on the girls’ track team were newly-crowned State 1A 3200m champion Jaide Parke, McKayla Mecham, Medin Cenarrusa and Kelsey Barker.

     Earning the high-point boys’ track awards for 2013 in rankings from No. 1 to No. 4 were Francisco Gamino, Luis Garcia, Christian Zarate and Tori Alvarez.

     Two athletes were named as 2013 Carey Wall of Fame athletes for doing three different sports for four straight years. They were Jaide Parke and Francisco Gamino. They’ll have their names on a perpetual plaque at the school.

     Next year’s Panther cheerleaders are Daphne Kirkland, Hailee Johnson, Shayla Adamson, Josylen Taylor, Camery Colton and Alissa Dilworth.

     Dan and Shawna Parke were honored by the Carey Athletic Association as Panther Boosters of the Year. They received free admission to next year’s home games for Carey.

     New CAA president is Luis Garcia, replacing Jaide Parke.

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