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Cook Named New ACS Volleyball Coach
Cameron Cook

(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools, June 11, 2020)  

  The Allen County-Scottsville Lady Patriot volleyball team has a new head coach. Cameron Cook has been named as the program’s seventh coach replacing Shelby Keegan who stepped aside last month after accepting a teaching position with the Bowling Green Independent School District.

   “I’m super-excited, it’s the job I had always been interested in,” Cook said. “I love this program. I have always wonted this job but I didn’t know it would be this quick.”

   Cook was a two-sport student-athlete at Allen County-Scottsville---playing basketball and baseball. However, during high school, Cook also served as a student volleyball manager before stepping into a coaching role shortly after his graduation in 2016.

   “My first real involvement in terms of hands-on coaching was when my dad (Randy Cook) took the job in the fall of 2016,” Cook recalled. “That was my chance to first work with the athletes.”

   Cook assisted his father for one year, served under coach Sarah Fisher in 2017, and assisted coach Keegan in 2018 and 2019 as best he could while studying at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The summer months were spent with the team, learning the ins-and-outs of the game. During the season, Cook was forced to miss most early week games and practice sessions but often was able to come home to help coach Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  

   As Cook spent more and more time around the sport---as well as time around students and athletes---the young man began to see a calling emerge. Cook’s vision of entering the medical field ebbed away as new doors began to open in and around education. After graduation with a Bachelors Degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology last December, his call to education was additionally confirmed after spending this spring semester teaching physics as an emergency certified full-time substitute educator at the high school.  

   “I was always told by teachers and classmates that I was destined to work with kids and high school kids, whether it was coaching or teaching” Cook said. “I was trying to convince people that those areas were not what I wanted to go into. But I knew that God had directed me to serve kids in my community. After getting in as an assistant volleyball coach, I knew I was serving kids that I had known growing up. I had watched their progression in sports and then in the classroom. Then, when the opportunity arose to teach in the classroom and the head coaching job opened up, I knew it was an opportunity I could not let slip by.” 

   Cook brings enthusiasm, passion, and determination to the volleyball program and to the hall ways at AC-SH.

   “I love Allen County, the community, and the people of Scottsville and Allen County,” Cook added. “I knew that if I was ever going to coach at a place or teach at a place it would have to be AC-SHS. I couldn’t see myself wearing any other colors.”

   Cook’s two years under coach Keegan has been a tremendous opportunity to learn. Keegan brought a touch of tradition, college-playing experience, and a fresh look to the program. 

   “We are so appreciative for everything coach Keegan done,” Cook explained. “She was put in a tough spot, taking over a head coaching position in her first year. She was thriving in it. She had such a great connection with the girls. Coach Keegan is very intelligent when it comes to the game. She had a way of communicating with the girls that was different and that helped me. I had always been more of the serious, analytical type but Coach Keegan could work on skills in a way that kids could be excited about. I learned a lot from her. The program is indebted to her. Coach Keegan spent six years as a player in this program and then two years as a coach. She poured everything she had into the program and I hope to continue that success.”

   Building upon recent success---39 wins the past two seasons---will be a challenge given the losses the squad has suffered.

   “We lost seven players---six seniors and an early graduate---that played multiple matches at the varsity level,’ Cook pointed out. “It is a transition time. We have a change of coach and we will have a change of some of our athletes as far as varsity level. However, a program is bigger than a certain group of people.”

   Cook is quick to note that the AC-S volleyball program is on the rise with continued improvement a goal.

   “We have increased on our winning percentage the past four years, we have won three straight district championships, and we have become relevant at the region level,” Cook explained. “As far as goals for our program, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about improvement and we have done that the past four years. I have already told the girls that our goal is to not settle for anything less than what we can achieve. I think that can be another district championship and a very good and winning season.”

   Still, the young coach knows it’s not always about the wins and losses. 

   “I always tell the girls that it’s not about the number we put beside our name, it’s about the attitude that we take and the effort we put on the floor,” Cook noted. “This group of girls coming up has really taken that to heart. They work hard. They are talented, they have a great work ethic, and they love to play the sport. That’s a really great first group to have and I believe they will be very enjoyable to coach.”

   Cook first venture into head coaching was leading the AC-S tennis teams this spring---a season that ended after one match due to COVID-19. The ongoing pandemic has delayed the start of volleyball summer conditioning and workouts but Cook is optimistic that he will soon be able to get his players into the gym.

   “First and foremost when we get into the gym, we will start making connections between the upper classmen and the lower classmen,” Cook said. “We will have eight to 10 new faces. Growing that connection between the coaches and the new players and the upper classes and the young classes will be huge. I know our girls have been working (on their own) to stay in shape and once they get back in the gym it will be very, very intense on skill development---being able to pass and serve, the two most important skills in volleyball. That’s always been our calling card. We have always been a really good serving team and a very good quality passing team. We will need a lot of reps with those two skills. The others will come along. The reps is something we have missed with the shorten summer.”

   Cook recognizes that the sport of volleyball continues to evolve in Allen County. In recent years, more opportunities for younger players have become available, a move that will only enhance the high school program going forward.

   “This is a developing sport in the community,” Cook added. “We are in our 20th season. If you look at where the program was when it started and where it is today, it has been a lot of work from different coaches and players to get us to the level it is now. It’s a blue-collar program. People are starting to take notice of what we have going here. We’ve had great fan bases the past three years especially. People are coming out and learning about the game. From the kindergarten level up, girls can play the game through the CORE or club ball. It’s a joint effort and I’m very excited to be able to help develop the best program we can and the best student-athletes we can.”

   Cook adds that inspiration for AC-SH to continue to develop and build a consistently solid program comes from the effort that is going on at Western Kentucky University under coach Travis Hudson. Under Hudson’s leadership and wiliness to stay with the Hilltopper program, WKU women’s volleyball has become a powerhouse. 

   “Continuity is a key in any sport but especially in volleyball,” Cook added. “You see what Travis Hudson has built at WKU and you admire that. I have listened to him talk in clinics and face-to-face and you will not find a a more genuine coach. When you’re genuine and care about the individuals around you and you care about something greater than yourself, great things are going to happen. That’s something I’m going to try to do and ask the kids to do the same. Continuity and being genuine are two of the greatest keys you can have in building something.”

   Cook will start outdoor conditioning workouts in small group during the week of June 15.  As of now, the Lady Patriots are scheduled to have scrimmages the week of August 11 with regular season matches slated to begin on August 17.

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570 Oliver Street, Scottsville, KY
Phone: (270) 618-3181
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