HUNTINGTON — Legendary Marshall University baseball coach Jack Cook died Wednesday afternoon. He was 95.
Cook’s daughter, Kim, said Cook died peacefully at home at 12:47 p.m., 35 years to the day that his mother, Marie, died.
“He just fell asleep,” Kim Cook said. “Now he’ll see Jesus face to face. I’m going to miss him so much.”
Cook was inducted into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. He was the winningest coach of any sport in school history, with a record of 422-344-3.
Cook guided the 1973 Marshall team to the school’s first NCAA Tournament and in 1978 won the Southern Conference championship and not only returned to an NCAA Regional, but once there beat Florida State 4-0 and Clemson 9-3, putting Marshall within one win of a trip to Omaha, Neb., and the College World Series, before the host Miami Hurricanes beat Marshall twice to end the Herd’s season. That season, Marshall achieved a school-best national ranking of No. 14 during the season and No. 17 in the final poll. Cook was named the Southern Conference and Atlantic Region coach of the year and was a finalist for national coach of the year honors.
Cook later led Marshall to the 1981 Southern Conference title and was the league coach of the year again in 1989. By the time he was finished coaching, Cook had helped 24 players receive all-conference honors, while pitcher Mark Doboney won first team All-American honors when he led the nation with a 0.55 ERA in 1973. Fourteen of Cook’s players went on to play professional baseball, and 11 of his players, including son Chip, are in the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame. Cook is enshrined in the West Virginia Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His number 1 is the only retired Marshall baseball jersey.