Paul Cook and Pat O'Keefe are in the news Friday-- and both deservedly so.
Cook, now 83, is being honored between the boys and girls games at Eastern High School. The basketball floor is being named Paul Cook Court. Cook coached at Eastern for 21 years and won the 1980 boys class A state title. He coached 51 years altogether at the high school level and won the girls class C state title in 1995 at then Lansing Catholic Central. Today, of course, the school is known as Lansing Catholic.
Cook won 811 games, lost just 288 and he won 21 league titles. His list of accolades is long and despite some health issues in recent years he still follows Michigan State and the area high schools. Tom Izzo is among those expected to be in attendance for the ceremonies in which Cook will receive a proclamation from the Lansing Board of Education.
O'Keefe is still the baseball coach at Grand Ledge, despite retiring from teaching two years ago. He is nearing 40 years as head coach and he has been named among eight finalists for the national high school baseball coach of the year. The award is sponsored by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. He'll be in Minneapolis June 22-24 for the annual convention at which he'll learn whether he is the overall winner. Either way, like Cook, he has had a tremendous career over a long period of time.
It's hard for anyone to stay in coaching at this level or higher anymore. And Cook and O'Keefe have been noteworthy in their achievements for more than four decades and are deserving of the awards they are receiving.