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Assistant Baseball Coach Brad Cook, a Johnson City, NY native, enters his fifth year as pitching coach at Polk State, where he’s led the pitching staff to numerous honors and achievements.
Under Cook, Polk State pitchers have helped lead the program to a 162-54 record. Cook has mentored two All-Americans, two Gulf Region Pitchers of the Year, two Conference Pitchers of the Year, 13 All-Conference selections, and two Firemen of the Year. Pitchers have earned a total of 17 scholarships to four-year programs, including seven to Division 1 programs.
2014 brought more accolades to the Polk State pitching staff. Casey Kulina was named Gulf Region Pitcher of the Year and NJCAA Second Team All-America with a state leading 12-1 record. Matt Pearce was a repeat selection on the All-Conference First Team along with Conference Pitcher of the Year Kulina. Pearce went on to be selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB draft.
In 2013, reliever Trey Norris received Regional Fireman of the Year and Suncoast Conference Fireman of the Year awards with a school-record 14 saves. Matt Pearce was a First Team All-Conference selection, closing out the season with a 17-inning scoreless streak.
In 2012, in addition to helping the Eagles to a berth in the NJCAA JUCO World Series, the College’s pitchers led the NJCAA and the state in several categories and set numerous school records. The staff’s 1.99 ERA were best in the country. Polk pitchers also led the state in innings pitched, 496.1 (No. 2 nationally); opponent batting average, .214 (No. 2 nationally); and walks allowed per game, 2.4 (No. 3 nationally), all school records.
Under Cook, Alec Asher went on to break numerous school records, including games started, with 16; innings pitched, with 111; strikeouts, with 118; and tied the record for wins with 13. Asher was selected as the Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year, Gulf Region Pitcher of the Year, NJCAA First Team All-America and a Rawlings Gold Glove recipient. He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB draft. Seven pitchers from the 2012 season’s staff signed scholarships to four-year institutions.
In 2011, the Eagles pitching staff led the Suncoast Conference in wins, walks, saves, and ERA, 3.61. Reid Noah was named Fireman of the Year for his state-leading 11 saves, then a school record. Three of Cook’s pitchers earned scholarships to four-year institutions.
Prior to Polk State, Cook served as pitching coach for Florida Southern College for two seasons. The 2010 Moccasins pitching staff finished second in ERA (4.06) in the Sunshine State Conference. Two of Cook’s pitchers were taken in the MLB draft that June: Daniel Tillman (second round, Angels) and Max Russell (fourth round, Angels). In his two years at FSC, Cook’s pitchers had a record of 82-32, and he mentored an All-American, five All-Region selections, and five All-Conference selections.
In all, Cook has coached three All-Americans, ten All-Region Pitchers, two Firemen of the Year Award winners, 18 All-Conference selections, and one Gold Glove winne. His teams had a record of 243-86 for a .739 winning percentage.
Prior to Florida Southern College, Cook was the head baseball coach at Johnson City (NY) High School for two seasons, leading his team to the Class A State Championship game in 2007. That year, he coached a First Team All-State Pitcher and the Class A Player of the Year.
As a player, Cook was a NJCAA All-American at Keystone College (Pa.) in 2000 before transferring to Division I Marist College (NY). While at Marist (2001-2002), he led the team in ERA in 2002 and Marist's ERA was fourth in the nation. He was named to the MAAC All-Tournament team in 2002. Following his collegiate career, he played pro baseball for two seasons with the Elmira Pioneers of the Northeast League.
Cook received his bachelor's degree in special education from Marist College in 2003 and earned his master's degree in mathematics education from Walden University in 2007. He has been a special education teacher for the Polk County School District for seven years.
Cook lives in Winter Haven with his wife, Sarah, and son, Broderick (2).