Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

April 22, 2014

Cook out at Lawrence

Coach heads to Mercer County

LOUISA — Josh Cook knows he’s leaving a boys basketball program in Lawrence County that is “at a level that’s maybe one of the highest levels it’s ever been,” he said.

But after conferring with his wife, Cook, 30, reached the conclusion that the Mercer County position was one he couldn’t pass up.

“Just like anybody else, I have dreams I want to chase,” he said Tuesday, “and this was a move for my career I thought I had to take.”

Cook was introduced Tuesday as the Titans’ new bench boss, marking the next step for a coach who piloted the Bulldogs to a 41-22 record in the past two seasons after they were a combined 7-46 in the two years before his arrival in Louisa.

What’s more, Lawrence County had no seniors this past season, when it was 21-11 and reached the 15th Region Tournament semifinals, positioning the Bulldogs as one of the top teams in the region entering next winter.

All told, Cook was content enough with his tenure at Lawrence County to remark, “The two years we’ve spent at Lawrence County were the two best years of our life.”

“I feel like we’ve done it the right way, and I want to see it succeed,” Cook continued. “It was a family decision, and a decision that we thought was best for our family and our future.”

Cook also complimented his players for their effort.

“Those kids are nothing but class, and they always gave me 100 percent,” he said. “Something you can always say about the kids at Lawrence County is they play hard, and as a coach, that’s all you can ever ask for.”

Mercer County is coming off an 11-12 season in coach Brian Britt’s fourth season, after which he resigned with an aggregate 59-57 record.

Britt was preceded by Nelson Cundiff, who was fired after coaching the first four seasons after Mercer County’s merger with Harrodsburg, despite taking the Titans to a 22-10 record and three-point loss in the 12th Region Tournament championship game in his final year.

Cook hopes to provide “some stability” to the program.

“I feel like this is a place that we can hope to make a home and be at it for a while,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to be able to do what we did at Lawrence and get this program playing at its highest level.”

Cook added his wife, Shana, is from central Kentucky.

Mercer County is Cook’s third head coaching job. He led June Buchanan to an 18-10 mark in 2008-09.

ZACK KLEMME can be reached at zklemme@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2658.

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