Larry Mathis has fond memories of working with John Earl Cook.
Cook, 62, who passed away Tuesday, was a long time assistant girls basketball coach at Oceana and Westside.
He was on the staff of the Lady Renegades 2012 and 2014 state championship teams. The current coach, Jamie Lusk, is his nephew.
“I’ve known John Earl a long time,” said Mathis, a county commissioner and former teacher and coach.
“I think he was a freshman in (Oceana) high school when I was senior,” he recalled. “When I started coaching at Kopperston, he and his brother would referee the games.”
“I’ve always loved him and his family,” Mathis stated. “They’re just a great family.”
Mathis, the last girls hoop coach at Oceana and the first at Westside, said Cook was an important part of his staff.
“I couldn’t have done it without him,” he remarked. “He would help wash the clothes and help dry the clothes.
“The girls all liked him,” Mathis said . “He always had bubblegum for them.
“All the teams at Westside will miss him,” he commented.
“He was always a fun, pleasant person, always joking,” Mathis reflected. “He was just a great guy and a good friend. I loved John Earl Cook.”
Services for Cook were held last Friday at the Campus Church of God.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.