2020 Highlands Yearbook Dedicated to Coach Reg Cook
[Copied from the 2020 Highlands yearbook created and written by student yearbook staff]
Reginald “Reg” Bruce Cook was born on September 30, 1951, to Phyllis and Wilbur Cook. Reg grew up in Sodus, New York, where he attended Williamson Elementary and eventually graduated from Williamson Central High School with the Class of 1969. He trusted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 13 while at LeTourneau Christian Camp. He says this was the best decision he ever made. During his teen years, he was involved with Youth for Christ outreaches. He was offered a basketball scholarship to Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and he later transferred to Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, where he continued his education while playing played soccer and basketball. He graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Physical Education. While Reg was at Tennessee Temple University, he was blessed to meet Melanie, his wife of 47 years. Following his college graduation, he began working and serving at Highlands Christian Academy. He has taught psychology, science, Bible, physical education, worked as the Athletic Director, coached numerous sports, and became known as the one and only Coach Cook.
Coach Cook has worked at Highlands for 46 years, impacting many students’ lives. During his time at Highlands, he took the basketball team to state twice and was named “Coach of the Year” multiple times by the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. Coach Cook served as the chaplain of the FAU basketball team in Boca Raton for several years, making him a role model for athletes outside of Highlands as well. As important as he considered training his athletes to be their physical best, Coach Cook shares that telling others about Christ has been the most important thing in his life. He has served on the board of SCORE International for many years, taking sports teams to Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, and Russia. God has used his love for the mission field and sports to bring young people to Christ and serve the Lord.
Coach Cook has stayed in touch with many former athletes, referees, coaches, and others he has worked with over the years. Hank Coyle, Highlands Class of ’84, shares: “I was blessed to be mentored by Coach Cook. He has always been an example of a man that is unwavering in his Christianity. He showed by example every day what it looked like to be a Christian man, teacher, coach, father, and friend.” Fred Gushue, also from Highlands Class of ’84, says: “Reg Cook introduced me to Jesus, and everything in my life changed! My parents and siblings, as well as my extended family, all became Christians shortly after I was saved. My entire family chooses to serve the Lord and has Christ as the head of their homes because of the faithfulness of Reg Cook. It was the single greatest gift we have ever received.”
Some of Coach Cook’s favorite things are lobster, berry pies, golf, travel, and the color maroon, although he is color-blind.
Outside of Highlands, Coach Cook enjoys life with his family. He has three grown children: Nathan, Austin, and Tabitha. He enjoys playing with his grandchildren: Kayla, Maddie, Sebastian, Isla, Valentina, Sterling, Reese, Everly, and Lincoln. One of his favorite memories is riding a gondola in Venice, Italy, with his wife, Melanie. In a foulshooting competition at a local restaurant, his son Nathan won two tickets to the Final Four College Basketball Tournament in Seattle. Nathan decided to take his dad, which had been a lifelong dream. Coach has also enjoyed playing golf at Pebble Beach with his son, Austin, and taking his daughter, Tabitha, to Tim Tebow’s last home game at UF. Coach Cook is an all-around family man and friend.
One of his lifelong friends is Ken Lopez, a friend of 51 years and counting. Coach Cook and Mr. Lopez met on their first day at Tennessee Temple University, when they both decided to major in psychology because it had the shortest line! They bonded over their love of sports and their competitive natures, and they served together at Highlands for years. Describing their friendship, Mr. Lopez said that they clicked right away and are best friends. Mr. Lopez even remembers when Coach Cook first met Melanie. “After only a month of dating, he told me he was going to marry her…and he did ask her a few times before she eventually said yes!”
Mr. Lopez said that Coach Cook taught him to care more about certain things, like the statistics of a team, and “to be bold, in a good way.” He describes Coach Cook as reliable, dedicated, and a leader for what is right. “I can’t think of a time there’s been an expectation or responsibility he didn’t fulfill. He is dependable and dedicated. He’s a great friend and a great example.”
We dedicate the 2019-2020 Highlands yearbook, to a leader, coach, husband, father, grandfather, friend, role model, and most of all, a true man of God. This man has lived his life serving Christ and bringing others to Him. He is a man whose love of Jesus Christ is the motivating factor of his life: Coach Reg Cook.
“Work hard, play hard” – Coach Reginald Bruce Cook
“…Choose you this day whom you will serve… but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15