Cooks Balance Father-Son With Coach-Player Relationship
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter and Scott Saville, Sports Director
IOWA CITY – Marv Cook consulted other coaches to prepare.
The Iowa City Regina Coach was looking for help with something more specific than game plans, schemes and practice procedures. Cook sought counsel on coaching his son at the varsity level.
Apparently, he received some good advice. The experience for Cook and his son, Drew, the Regals’ starting quarterback, has been enjoyable and very successful. They have shared in Regina’s 51 straight wins, attempting to extend the streak to 52 in an Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 1A first-round playoff game at home Wednesday against Tipton (4-5) at 7 p.m.
Sports, especially football, are a shared love for the Cooks.
“It’s been a rewarding thing,” Marv Cook said. “It’s extra time to bond. It’s a lot of stuff you don’t get to do with 16- or 17-year-old kids a lot of the time … It’s a chance for us to communicate and share interest in a similar thing.”
Regina (9-0) owns the state’s second longest all-time win streak, and is tied for the nation’s longest current 11-player win streak with Ithaca (Mich.). Only Pahranagat Valley High School, in Alamo, Nev., an 8-player team, has more consecutive wins, which currently sits at 65 in a row.
Drew Cook said he likes playing for his dad and contributing to the streak together adds to the moment.
“He coached all those teams,” Drew Cook said about three straight perfect seasons that produced 2A state titles in 2010 and 2011 and the 1A crown last season. “To me, playing under him and trying to add to this win streak, it’s pretty special.”
The roles of father/son and coach/player can be hard to separate, but the Cooks do their best to maintain the proper perspective. Offensive coordinator Ed Hinkel serves as a buffer between the two when things are rocky. Both Cooks admit dad is tougher on son than some other players, but Marv said he warned Drew it could be the case.
“He gets on me during practice a lot but ultimately it gets me better,” Drew Cook said. “I like it because I know he’s always watching me and everything I do. Every mistake I make he’ll make sure I know about it.”
Marv Cook said he never slips into dad mode during a big play. He said coaching current Regina athletes in youth sports make them all seem like sons. Drew Cook sees dad instead of Coach Cook at times.
“If I do something wrong, he’ll make the coaching point and get on me, but when I do something good he’ll give me ‘Good job,’ ” Drew Cook said. “In my mind, I’m like, ‘Did you see that, dad?’ He’s coach but also my dad.”
One practice this season, the junior signal caller extracted the ire of the head coach by throwing an interception during offensive drills and immediately turned to Hinkel before the play was finished. Marv raised his voice to let Drew know he has to let the offense know about the pick, because he is the only one looking downfield. The pair were calmly discussing the previous session as they walked to the sidelines during the ensuing water break.
“When he sees something, he’ll yell in front of everybody and make a point,” Drew Cook said. “After, he explains it more to me, like why it is important and why it’s a necessity to do that.”
He was also quick to praise the rest of the Regals coaching staff, which is stockpiled with former NCAA Division I players and state championship players. Marv echoed those sentiments, calling them all role models for the 65 Regina players.
“They do a great job,” Drew Cook said. “I admire all of them. They’re great guys with a lot of experience in football.”
The younger Cook’s attitude makes it easier to give him a kick in the pants and pat on the back at the same time. Marv said Drew receives and processes appropriately.
“He’s his own man,” Marv said. “He’s got a great demeanor for the position he’s playing. He’s very detail-oriented and focused.”
Those are probably familiar characteristics. The 17-year-old Cook resembles the 47-year-old, who also played quarterback as a prep. Regina assistant Tom Nosbish, who was coach for part of Marv’s prep career at West Branch, recognizes the likeness.
“They look a lot alike,” Nosbish said. “They have the same build. Their pace and gait are very similar, but Drew’s faster.
“I think Drew has developed faster than Marv did. The similarities are scary.”
Nosbish recalled being asked why Marv was successful as an athlete, playing at the University of Iowa and becoming an all-pro tight end in the National Football League.
“I had bigger, faster and stronger kids, but probably no one more intelligent and the desire to always win and do well,” Nosbish said. “That was Marv. I think that is instilled in Drew, right now.”
Drew is very aware of the big shoes some might expect him to fill, knowing his accomplishments with the Hawkeyes and a seven-year pro career. He wanted to where those same ones growing up. Like many sons, he wanted to be just like dad, but he said there is no pressure.
“When I was a kid I really admired him,” Drew Cook said. “I wanted to do the same thing he did. That has been a goal and dream of mine. He’s definitely had been a successful career.”
Drew Cook remembered a highlight tape from his dad’s playing days for the Hawkeyes. He said he thought it was cool to see as a youth.
“It has the coolest music in the background and his best plays from college days,” Drew Cook said. “It was awesome. He was a pretty good player.”
One person who doesn’t push Drew Cook down his father’s path is Marv Cook. He said he has been an advocate for his kids, and all youth, to find their own dream. He stresses that people need to discover their own aspirations, because success comes from being passionate about your pursuits.
“The one thing I’ve always emphasized to my kids is I have lived my dream and I have lived it to the fullest and loved every minute of it,” Marv Cook said. “I still love it but it was my dream.
“I tell them to not think they have to do anything I did or be what I was. They have to find out what they want to be.”
At home, Marv said they try to spend as much family time as possible with his wife, Tracy, Drew, daughter, Logan, an eighth-grader, and Ashton, who plays on Regina’s fifth-grade team. They play basketball together, enjoy a round of golf or even sit on the couch and watch movies.
They watch college and professional games and even game film at home together. Tracy Cook, Marv’s wife and Drew’s mother, doesn’t have to officiate at home. Actually, she might be a tougher critic.
“Sometimes mom gets on me more than dad does,” Drew Cook said with a laugh. “That’s just great I get to go home to that. I love my family.”
The real question might be which Cook is the best. A slight difference of opinion exists, depending on the generation.
“I prided myself on being a tough kid and being competitive,” Marv Cook said. “I joke with him a lot that if we lined up it would be an interesting matchup. I really like where he’s at right now.”
Drew Cook was more definitive.
“I think I’m the better athlete,” he said. “I can take him.”
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