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Oct. 5, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Mark Cooke spent three seasons at the former USC Spartanburg during the late 1980s. Cooke was the head coach of the Rifles softball team for three seasons and spent one season as the head coach of the volleyball program.
Cooke served as the head softball coach from 1987 to 1989, during which time the Rifles won 77 games. With 77 victories, Cooke owns the second-most victories in softball history. Cooke never finished a season with a losing record. The Rifles posted records of 28-20, 25-14 and 24-22 from 1987 to 1989 respectively.
During the 1988 season, Cooke served as the head coach of the volleyball team. The Rifles finished the season with a record of 32-12 and an 11-1 mark in NAIA District Six. The team won both the district and bi-district titles earning them a trip to the NAIA National Tournament. That was the second of three consecutive trips the Rifles made to the national tournament.
Cooke now serves as the head coach of the Winthrop Eagles softball team. Cooke, who is entering his 20th-season at the helm of the Eagle program, has won 541 games in Rock Hill. The former Rifle coach owns a career record of 625-559-3.
Cooke recently sat down with Alex Edwards of upstatespartans.com to discuss his time at USCS as well as the impact it had on his career and life.
What made you want to pursue a career in coaching?
What was your most memorable moment during your time as a head coach at USCS?
In 1988, you coached both the Volleyball and Softball teams, what was the biggest challenge in juggling duties for both programs?
What is your relationship like with Upstate head softball coach Chris Hawkins?
How do you feel your time in Spartanburg has helped you in your coaching career?
What do you see as being the most rewarding aspect of coaching?
Who were your heroes growing up?
If your current team was to describe you in one word, what word do you think they would choose and why?
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?