GUERNSEY – Curtis Cook has been in Platte County for many years and is no stranger to Guernsey-Sunrise High School where he is employed as an IT tech and the varsity football coach.
This year with changes in both the boys and girls basketball programs, Coach Curtis Cook has jumped into coaching junior varsity girls basketball this fall and in November the Lady Vikings were assembled under his tutelage as their head coach with Reva Falen as the varsity assistant.
Cook was born in Douglas and lived there until four years of age when the energy bust hit nationally. Cooks father who owned a cement company was affected when the housing market went south.
“My dad ended up moving to Colorado Springs,” Cook said. “Within three months we followed and that was actually where I went to kindergarten. From kindergarten to fourth grade I went to John C. Fremont elementary. Then the bust that hit Converse County hit Colorado.”
From Colorado, the family moved a few more times until they finally got back to Wheatland where Cook’s mom put forth an ultimatum that there would be no more moving.
“I did seventh grade through graduation here in Wheatland,” he said. “I graduated in 1998.”
While in Wheatland, Cook participated in football, basketball, baseball. Although he drifted away from sports the closer he got to graduation, he still participated in a lot of open gyms and never lost his passion and his love for athletics.
Cook went to CWC in Riverton.
“Although I work in education, I am in IT working as an IT tech,” Cook said. “Right out of high school I started tinkering with technology. I even built my own computer. Back then the University only had computer science which was programming and I didn’t want to be a programmer. I wanted to do like, PC repair and networking and information systems technology.”
He now does all things for computers at Guernsey-Sunrise School. He says that he works on pretty much anything that’s plugged in.
“I’m the tech guy,” he said with a laugh. “As for getting into coaching, I am a third generation Broncos fan and that fueled my passion. When I got to Guernsey, they had a junior high football coach who was wanting to get out of it. He was the shop teacher before Troy Reichert. In junior high, they didn’t have enough kids to field an 11-man team, so they were going to field a 6-man team. And that’s all I’ve ever coached. Until this year when we went to 9-man football.”
Cook took over as the varsity coach in 2016, two years after Guernsey-Sunrise was state champion in football.
As for coaching in basketball, he got into coaching basketball when his oldest daughter had a passion for the sport, was an incredible player, but when she fell between that age of AAU and school ball without an option, Cook was asked by his daughter to coach so she could play.
He coached for a few years before he ended up watching his daughter play at Wheatland and then eventually he was an assistant boys coach at Guernsey-Sunrise working with Taylor Dick.
“Someone asked me once if I would rather coach boys or girls,” Cook said. “Quite honestly I’d rather coach girls basketball over boys basketball. The thing I like about girls basketball is they are thinkers. That forces you to be a better coach. Just today, I had the ‘why’ questions thrown at me and it caused me to stop and rethink and kind of reevaluate some things I was wanting to do. The girls talked to me about it and we actually made a change because of it. Boys just want to know what they’re doing and where. Girls want to know what they’re doing, where they’re doing it… and why. I like that.”
So far, the bonding has gone well according to Cook.
“These girls are phenomenal,” Cook said. “Today we were so into practice that we just lost track of time. We are just flowing right now. They are learning about me and I am learning about them.”
Cook said that the thing these girls need most of all at this point is confidence. He is pleased with how hard they work and how they are improving, but they need to work on their confidence.
“Any change that is worth anything is slow,” Cook said. “Any change that is substantial or means anything is slow. This is going to be a progression and a process. It’s going to be ongoing. All year long we will be working on some of the same things. I want to be playing our best basketball by the time we get to regionals.”
Lady Viking basketball is taking on a new look and a new spirit and for a team that has only won three games in the last two years, Cook is expecting great things to come, one step at a time.