The inspirational true story of a high school football coach who motivates and encourages ordinary kids to do extraordinary things on and off the field
He’s called simply “Coach.” But Louie Cook of Notre Dame High School in Crowley, Louisiana, is much more than that. He’s a father figure to his players, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or religion; the mentor players can turn to for discerning advice; the man students and parents go to for comfort in challenging times; and most of all, a caring leader with a servant’s heart.
Coach of a Lifetime: The Story of Lewis Cook Jr., Legendary High School Football Coach recounts the inspiring, selfless path Cook has traveled as a football coach and, more importantly, as a leader in a small Louisiana town. While other high school coaches have won more games and sent more players to the NFL, none have proven better at developing the raw talents of high school kids from a handful of farming communities and turning them into champions on the football field and in life.
The story of Louie Cook is about much more than football. It’s about developing and motivating young people, about putting faith and family ahead of wins and losses, and about building relationships that will last a lifetime. Cook may be one of the winningest high school coaches in the nation, but he will be the first to tell you, “Winning isn’t everything; winning the right way is.”
Gaylon H. White is the author of four books, The Best Little Baseball Town in the World; Left on Base in the Bush Leagues; Singles and Smiles; and The Bilko Athletic Club. He is also the co-author with Ransom Jackson of Handsome Ransom Jackson: Accidental Big Leaguer. White was a sportswriter for the Denver Post, Arizona Republic, and Oklahoma Journal before working nearly 40 years for such varied companies as Hallmark Cards, Inc., The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Eastman Chemical Company. For more about White and his books, visit www.GaylonWhite.com.
Foreword by Nick Saban
1. The Birth of a Legend
2. No Golden Dome at this Notre Dame
3. The Ultimate Goal is Heaven
4. Rayne Man
5. From Bottom Lines to Goal Lines
6. Getting a PhD in Football
7. ‘They’re Laughing at Us’
8. ‘There Goes His Red Shirt’
9. Psychologist of the Year
10. Here Come the Sons!
11. Early Morning Lights
12. No Place Like Dome
13. Family Ties
14. The Disciples
15. The Black Hole
16. Worthy Adversary
18. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
A Note of Gratitude
About the Author
Sportswriter White offers a deeply researched and detailed, respectful, and affectionate biography of Louisiana football coach Lewis “Louie” Cook Jr. and a portrait of his home ground. Except for six years at the University of Southern Louisiana (USL), Cook’s 45-plus-years' coaching career has been at Rayne, Crowley, and Notre Dame High Schools.… Cook clearly loves football and coaching. Some of White’s best passages are suspenseful accounts of key games for Cook and his players. But Cook considers football a means for preparing for the rest of life rather than an end in itself. He mentors his players and encourages them to excel academically. He told USL running back Kenny Lee, “If I just teach you about football, I’ve failed you. I’ve got to teach you about life and being a man.”
Lewis Cook is a legend. Coaching for nearly five decades, it’s not just about the championships and wins but about impacting the lives of the young men and women he’s in contact with. His calm demeanor and strong desire for success has been a great model for those around him to follow. A lifetime committed to developing others is what legends are made of.
Winning in football is about executing the game plan better than your opponent. As the stories in this book attest, Coach Cook not only provides his players with game plans to win football games but also to win at life.
This book is a must read about a man who on and off the field is the epitome of what everyone in the coaching business should strive to be. I coached 16 years at the college level and 28 years in the NFL and if Louie Cook had chosen to be a college or pro head coach, he would’ve been one of the best. Coach Cook is very special.
In my 72-year career, I’ve known a lot of famous football coaches. Fans measure their achievements in games won and salaries earned. Victories make reputations. Salaries get you noticed. But what makes you a coach? More than most people will ever know, it’s teaching values as well as football―life skills after the scoreboard hits the final triple zeroes…understanding that for these kids, football will be over, but life is just beginning. I’d never heard of Lewis Cook before but now, thanks to Gaylon White’s book, I won’t forget him.
I’ve spent a lifetime covering great coaches. In his 50 years of coaching no one has accomplished as much as Louisiana high school legend Louie Cook on the football field, in the molding of young men and the bringing together of a community in the quest to attain life’s ultimate goal. Noted one longtime opposing coach: “Louie has a lot of Jesus in him―loving, forgiving, humility, compassion, gentleness, self-control, patience, obedience, honesty and prayerful.” I will add one other, humor. None of us can go back to high school but in reading Gaylon White’s masterful Coach of a Lifetime we can all take a knee after practice and be gifted the wise and inspirational words of Coach Louie Cook regarding faith, family, and football.
Guarrr-rhannn-teee you’ll be cheering for Louie after reading this book.
All of the awards and high praise Coach Cook has received mean nothing to the hundreds of people like me that he helped and guided. The lives we went on to live, on or off the football field, were directly related to what he did for us. He changed our lives because he coached and changed futures. That's the true measure of greatness. This book, Coach of a Lifetime, is a testament to that greatness.
Coach Cook is more than a great football coach. He’s a friend and mentor.
An engaging and worthy read, Coach of a Lifetime is teeming with rich examples from Coach Louie Cook’s illustrious career that can help any leader motivate and inspire others to excel and to win.
Foreword by Nick Saban, renowned University of Alabama head football coach
6/25/23, KLFY-TV, Lafayette, LA: Lewis Cook and author Gaylon White are interviewed about the book.
6/25/23, Discover Lafayette podcast: Lewis Cook and Gaylon White discuss Cook’s historical journey in coaching over the past 50 years.
6/29/23, The Sports Scouting Report podcast: Lee Brecheen interviews author Gaylon White about the book.
7/15/23, KATC-TV, Lafayette, LA: Gaylon White and Coach Cook are interviewed about the forthcoming release of the book.
6/20/23, Footenotes with Kevin Foote: Author Gaylon White and Coach Cook join this Louisiana sports talk show to discuss the forthcoming release of the book.
9/14/23, The Advocate, Gaylon White is interviewed for this feature article about the book.