Mimi Cook, wife of 61 years to Dick Cook, was asked about her husband’s imminent induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. With a twinkle in her eye, she expressed her excitement to see the St. Louis Cardinals’ retired pitching star, Adam Wainwright, in person. Dick Cook chuckled, sharing the sentiment from their Crystal City home.
On November 19, Dick Cook, Wainwright, and 17 other sports figures, along with four esteemed teams, will receive honors at the Hall of Fame ceremony at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.
Dick Cook’s Legacy
An icon at Crystal City High School, Cook’s tenure spanned parts of four decades. Under his guidance, the Hornet girls track and field team clinched six consecutive Class 2A state titles from 1984 to 1989. This formidable team is also set for Hall of Fame recognition.
Dick fondly remembers the time, attributing their success to the region’s keen interest in track and field, and the dedicated students eager to participate. The coach emphasized the importance of nurturing versatile athletes, saying, “You take a chance on some kids and you hope what you’re doing is good enough for them.”
Cook’s own sports journey began in Crystal City. He later attended the University of Missouri, participating in both football and track and field events. Initially studying business administration, he pivoted to physical education, driven by his coaching aspirations.
His remarkable coaching career started in Poplar Bluff. Later, he shaped football and track at Herculaneum, followed by an impressive 34-year stint at Crystal City. Along the way, Cook mentored numerous standout athletes, including Randy Cayce, who went on to shine in the NFL.
Randy Cayce recollected, “Dick was a great mentor and coach. He’s been in my life ever since.” Cayce is among the many who plan to attend the induction ceremony. Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
A Touching Tale
Ken Jones, the Hornet activities director, shared a heartwarming memory of Cook welcoming him to the “state championship club” after his girls clinched the Class 1 cross country title in 2015. He emphasized the rarity of a coach who can maintain championship-winning streaks over several years, a feat Cook managed with aplomb.
Awaiting the Ceremony
Many former players, colleagues, and all of Cook’s four children are eagerly awaiting the induction ceremony. When asked about his speech, Cook, with his usual humility, mentioned he wants to keep it short, focusing less on his achievements and more on the collective spirit that earned those accolades. He expressed gratitude for the numerous friends planning to attend, saying, “That’s an honor that they think enough of me to attend.”