Legion Collegiate Academy Athletic Director Strait Herron has announced the hiring of former Winthrop coach and hall of famer Mark Cooke as head softball coach.
Mark Cooke spent 29 seasons as head coach of the Winthrop softball team and coched collegiately for 32 seasons. Cooke retired from college coaching in 2018 and was enshrined in the Winthrop Athletics Hall of Fame this past February.
“We are excited and fortunate to have former Winthrop coach Mark Cooke lead our softball program,” said Herron. “Mark is well known throughout softball circles in the state and has a great following of young players who want to play for him. He is a great teacher of the sport and cares deeply about young people.”
When he left Winthrop, Cooke had coached more than 1,700 games and compiled 851 victories. He ranks as the Big South Conference’s all-time leader in wins with 767, and he coached the Eagles to four Big South Conference Championships, including back-to-back titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007 and 2008. In addition to his college coaching experience, Cooke has spent the last several summers directing international softball clinics in foreign countries through Little League International.
During his Winthrop years, he produced nine 30-plus win seasons, 94 All-Big South selections, 54 All-Tournament selections, six BSC tournament MVPs, 11 All-Region selections, five Big South Players of the Year, four Big South Scholar Athletes of the Year, four Big South Rookies of the Year, an NFCA All-American, and two First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selections.
Cooke was named the Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2005, 2007 and 2008. He led the Lady Eagles Big South Championships in 1990, 1991, 2007 and 2008. The team has finished runner-up six times (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2013).
He is married to the former April Haimbaugh of Niles, MI. They are the parents of two sons, Seth and Noah.