We are excited to share that Mike Cook ’02 will take the helm of the basketball program.
Phoenix Basketball has come full circle with Mike Cook as the head coach. He entered Friends’ Central School in the ninth grade and led an incredible turnaround in the program. The Phoenix were 6-10, 1-6 before Mike arrived, and the next season went 16-3, 6-3. By the time Mike graduated in 2002, the Phoenix were 22-3, 9-0. He was the FCS Boys’ Basketball All-Time leading scorer with 1800 points, a record that stands to this day. He lettered four years for then Head Coach Keino Terrell and was named Most Valuable Player his junior and senior seasons and Honorable Mention All-State and All-Area his senior season. Mike led Friends’ Central to two Friends Schools League titles, averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists and was league Player of the Year in his senior year.
Keino Terrell shares, “Mike Cook is uniquely qualified to be the next Head Coach of the Phoenix. As a student-athlete, Mike was the catalyst for a new approach to basketball at FCS, expanding opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to compete athletically and academically on campus. He remains the most prolific scorer in the history of the program, but more importantly, Mike has proven that he is committed to the success of all young people. He is the perfect steward for this program, and I am confident that he will take FCS basketball to heights never seen before. I could not be more proud or pleased that he will have an opportunity to mentor young men in this capacity for years to come.”
Former teammate Mustafa Shakur ‘03, who played at the University of Arizona and then professionally overseas and for the Washington Wizards and the Oklahoma City Thunder, shares, “Mike Cook has always exemplified leadership on and off the court. He was vital in my transition from public school to FCS. As a coach, I am sure he will use the same leadership qualities to inspire the players and build trust. I look forward to seeing the great things Mike will accomplish as a coach and supporting the program!”
Mike went on to play with tremendous success at East Carolina University and then at the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, Mike helped bring them a Big East Championship in 2008 after their 74-65 win over Georgetown University at Madison Square Garden. Mike was described at Pitt as “a talented, strong, creative scorer, exceptional passer, solid rebounder and physical defender. Cook started all 37 games, ranked second on the squad in both scoring (10.5 ppg.) and assists (95), reached double figures in 21 of 37 games, and shot an outstanding 49.8 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from 3-point range.”
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Media and Professional Communications, Mike played for seven seasons overseas. He spent his professional playing career in Asia and Europe. He spent time in Poland, the UK, China, Qatar, Iceland, and Serbia. After his playing career, Mike returned to FCS in 2016 to serve as Assistant Director of Admissions and Athletics Liaison. He became an assistant basketball coach in 2018 and is now set to write the next chapter for the Phoenix.
Looking forward to getting started, Mike says, “This program has held a special place in the hearts of my family and me. It provided me an opportunity for a better life, and we are forever grateful for that. To have the opportunity to be the Head Coach of this team is something that I will not take for granted. I am beyond excited to get to work!”
Click here to read the Pittsburgh Sports Now article feature Mike.