Larry Mathis has fond memories of working with John Earl Cook.
Cook, who passed away last Tuesday at 62, was a long time assistant girls basketball coach at Oceana and Westside.
He was on the staff of the Lady Renegades 2012 and 2014 Class AA state championship teams. WHS was also state runner-up in 2013.
Lady Renegades head 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 (at Oceana High School) when I was a 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 said. “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 continued.
Mathis called Cook “a fun, pleasant person, always joking. He was a great man and a good friend. I loved John Earl Cook.”
Services were held lat Friday at the Campus Church of God.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to the Lady Renegades basketball team.
John Conley can be reached at304-732-6060 or on Twitter@PIHnews.