McCook marches organizational skills to principal's office
It's the old-school business motto: Plan your work. Work your plan. High school business teacher Chris McCook lives the model.
Eleven years ago, when he first got into education, the Houston County High boys soccer coach set up a personal 20-year plan that would place him in a high school corner office as principal. McCook moved closer to his goal when Warner Robins High principal Steve Monday chose McCook as a vice principal, effective immediately.
"I told some (college) professors at the time, I'm going to teach for 10 years, be in administration for 10 years and then see what happens," McCook said by phone Monday.
McCook, who also coached the secondary for the Bears football team, ran the soccer team like a CEO. Players and parents proved grateful shareholders.
"I wanted to give everyone in the program ownership in it," McCook said. "I wanted them to feel like they were a part of it and let their personalities show through."
The dividends gleaned from his management style were impressive: a current streak of four Elite Eight appearances in tough-as-nails GHSA Class AAAAA, consecutive Region 1 titles from 2005-07 and dozens of all-region, all-county and All Middle Georgia selections, many of whom have gone on to play college soccer on scholarship.
To be sure, geography and demographics proved solid allies during his coaching tenure. The bulk of the local soccer-playing community lives on the south side of Watson Boulevard. Central Georgia Soccer Association is but a Jacob Primm free kick from the HoCo campus.
And McCook didn't squander his resources. He and long-time assistant Tony Jones cultivated the CGSA connection (Jones was a member of the organization's board) to the point where school ball and club ball weren't at odds in terms of talent utilization and philosophy.
In addition, there's a soccer booster club and a Web site. Most importantly, there's a legacy of success for whoever will be chosen to take over the program. (As of Friday morning, the position had not yet been filled.)
"It pretty much runs itself now," McCook said.
Interestingly, McCook was Monday's replacement as HoCo boys soccer coach when Monday answered a similar calling to administration back in 2000. It's a common matriculation - roughly a dozen principals or assistants in our five local high schools have coaching experience. As McCook said, the jobs have similar ends.
"You're trying to get people headed in the right direction," he said.
Make plans to come join us in honoring Tyler's love for soccer...See you there!
(If you are under 18, you must have a parent sign the waiver form to play in the game.)
1.) Anyone, Any age, can play, It will be a fun and friendly soccer match.
T-Shirts will be given to players.
2.) Donations will be accepted. Proceeds will go toward a Field dedicated in Tylers Honor.
3.) Snack Bar will be open.
Thursday, 5 June. Arrive at 7:00 P.M.
Friends & Teammates Play under the lights at CGSA Fields Camaraderie/friendly game
Donations to play go to purchase of memorial to be placed at CGSA
Ages 18 and up - waiver required
Under 18 - parental waiver required to play
No advance sign up necessary
Questions: Contact Inger Blevins at 256-1193 or Dean Blain at 442-0275.
3 Bears heading to college soccer teams
Where did Houston County High soccer draw a lot of its strength from this past season? A strong argument could be made that it was the midfield. At least three different colleges thought so as three senior Bears from that midfield line signed national letters of intent Monday. Some may refer to him as the ‘Real Deal,’ but Richie Wimsatt received quite a big deal on Monday with a chance to play at the NCAA Division I level at Mercer University in Macon. Alex Baughman, a threat to score and stop others from scoring, is staying in state as well to play for Darton College in Albany. Lewis McDaniel, who came off Chris McCook’s bench, is on his way to Mississippi and Itawmba Community College.
Wimsatt had quite a busy weekend before Monday’s ceremony. He played in two matches Saturday in Gwinnett County. One was the Georgia high school All-Star game (Class AAAAA against the other four classes combined) where he scored in a 3-2 win for his side, and the other was as a member of the Atlanta Fire club team against the U-18 U.S. National Team. McCook said Winsatt is one of the first true four-year lettermen for the Houston County High program with a school-record total in assists (60) and an 11-goal, 20-assist season as a senior. “I hope to go (to Mercer) and do well academically as well as athletically,” said Wimsatt. “I hope I get the most out of it and will try to advance to the next level, as high as soccer will take me. I think it will be a good foundation for me either way because I will get a great education at Mercer.”
On the academic side, Wimsatt either wants to major in business or psychology. He will use the next two years to get a feel for what he wants to do. The field of psychology is one that would leave him with some interesting choices. “I want to get into something like life coaching,” said Wimsatt. “Working with people, especially people my age. Maybe being a psychologist for an athletic team.” So Wimsatt could go from perhaps playing for a professional soccer club to getting into the heads of players who use their heads quite often. He said he always sets his goals as high as possible, and pro soccer is indeed the limit for his sport. “I understand the need for education is far more than the need for athletics,” he said. “I’m going to push at both as hard as I can, and I’ll see how far I get.” Playing in the midfield, Wimsatt has the chance to be a “creative” player. More importantly, though, he wants to enjoy himself on the field. “It’s a game that allows you to be yourself,” he said. “I just like playing, getting out there and doing it. Whether you play on a big team or in the backyard with your friends, it’s still soccer. “(Midfield) allows you to be the quarterback of the team. People look for you. If you have a good game, they have a good game. You can distribute the ball left or right. It brings the best out of you.”
Wimsatt’s playing career has taken him from Robins Air Force Base to the Central Georgia Soccer Association to the Olympic Development Program to the big clubs in Atlanta. Then there’s his experience with the atmosphere at Houston County High matches. “It was an opportunity for me to understand the importance of teamwork,” said Wimsatt. “School pride. I have a coach who excels in the ways of motivation and tactics. It was an experience that overall made me a better man, which in turn made me a better soccer player.”
Baughman joins the Darton Cavalier program in Albany. Darton is the host for the 2008 Region XVII championship tournament and already is boasting a strong recruiting class for the new season. That class not only includes the former Houston Bear but four other prospects from the nation’s top rated high school program in Florida. “The coach came up during the first Warner Robins game, and he was real impressed with me,” said Baughman about his own recruiting process. “He was real good getting back with me on emails, calling me all the time. It’s a real great school. He let me play with the team, and it’s a bunch of good guys.” Baughman had to miss his junior season of high school play, so he was grateful to get back on the field as a senior and be part of Houston County’s continual winning ways. “It pushed me to work harder this year and be better,” said Baughman. “I’m real composed. I keep it calm on the field.” Baughman hopes to go from Darton to a four-year school and also earn a Master’s degree. Like Wimsett, he’s looking to enter the psychology field. “People tell me I’m a people person,” he said. “I figured that would be good for me.”
McDaniel has made the trip out to Fulton, Miss., to get a look at Itawmba and get a feel for his new college home. He took part in a practice with the team and caught the eye of the coaches. But he’s not looking to talk to people lying on couches. McDaniel has his sights set on the stars. So at Itawmba he will begin work towards a degree in engineering, aerospace to be more specific. His plans after Itawmba are to transfer to Georgia Southwestern State in Americus. Then, he’s looking to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. But first, he looks back on high school memories. “It was a really unique team, a one-of-a-kind team,” said McDaniel. “It had a lot of team chemistry. It’s like a family out there.”
Bears' magic runs out
Things go Collins Hill's way in final 20 minutes of AAAAA soccer quarterfinal
By Robyn Disney - firstname.lastname@example.org
WARNER ROBINS --Seven Houston County soccer jerseys were left hanging on the crossbar of one of the goals as the boys team left the field Friday night.It couldn't be denied that those jerseys, representing the seven seniors on the team, weren't all the Bears left on the field.
Houston County played a gritty and aggressive game but came up short in a 3-1 loss to Collins Hill in the GHSA Class AAAAA quarterfinals. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Bears' season ended in that round.
"I don't have any words to take away the hurt," Houston County head coach Chris McCook said. "I hope the underclassmen will take that hurt and turn it into a positive for next year. I was really pleased with this senior class. They got us here again. And the work ethic in the past two weeks really picked up. It was tremendous that they got us there, and we just fell a little short."
Down 1-0, a free kick in the 60th minute put Houston County back in the game. Dallas Hall belted a shot from about 25 yards out and senior Alex Baughman headed it in to tie the game at 1.
Less than a minute later, the Bears had an opportunity to go ahead when senior Kyle Turcotte crossed the ball from the left side. Senior forward Josh Salmon was right in front of the net, but the ball was shot over the net.
Collins Hill quickly turned momentum the other way, with Juan Giraldo giving the Eagles the go-ahead goal. A free kick by Jonathan Hazard with nine minutes remaining gave Collins Hill a two-goal cushion.
"We come out in the second half and get the tying goal," McCook said, "and within a minute-and-a-half later, we just missed a wide-open net that could have spurred us on to the finish. I think that was an emotional letdown that carried over. We just lost our focus for about seven minutes there. They got one in and then they got another."
The Eagles (17-4) were coming off the biggest win in program history, upsetting Chattahoochee, which was ranked by StudentSportsSoccer.com as the No. 1 team in the nation, on Tuesday.
The No. 3 seed out of Region 7 rode that momentum into Friday's match, attacking the net early. They got a lucky break in the 24th minute when goalkeeper Kyle Clodfelter made a beautiful save off his fingertips. But the ball bounced back to Ricardo Ortega, who got it in the net for a 1-0 lead.
Houston County (16-5) went on the counterattack with numerous shots, positioning itself for a physical second half in which five yellow cards were issued, including two for Collins Hill's Greg Hoover, who was sent off with two minutes remaining.
"We just play hard," Collins Hill head coach Stan Carpenter said. "The players have bought into a team atmosphere. They support each other and when they do that, they are great."
Collins Hill will either host Centennial or travel to East Coweta on Tuesday. Not only is this the furthest the Eagles' boys team has gone in the postseason, but it is also the most wins in a season.
While Collins Hill is moving on to the semifinals, Houston County has nine juniors that are hoping to hang up their jerseys next year in a later round.
"It is a fire that burns in them to get here and to go further each year," McCook said. "It is a tradition that has been handed down from each class to class. The work ethic in the offseason just intensifies each year."
Teamwork Builds Champions! GO BEARS!
Bears' depth overwhelms Bulldogs
By John Kosater - email@example.com
Senior Kyle Turcotte scored two goals in a one-minute span 25 minutes into the first half to give the Bears a lead they never relinquished.
The win puts Houston County in the state quarterfinals.
Houston County head coach Chris McCook was pleased the way his team reacted to Tri-Cities' early goal.
"I think it got us even more fired up," McCook said. "Our plan was to come out and get an early lead and really get after it. We wanted to set the tone, and I think we were able to accomplish that."
The first half was full of action, with both teams pushing the tempo. Turcotte gave his team the lift it needed, and by the end of the half, Tri-Cities was wearing down from the constant barrage from the Bears' players off the bench.
Nursing a 2-1 halftime lead, the Bears controlled the second half. They took a two-goal lead on a penalty kick from Richie Wimsatt, and from that point on, frustration set in for a Tri-Cities.
In the final 20 minutes, Tri-Cities was assessed four yellow cards and three red cards.
Houston County's Dallas Hall scored on a header off of a corner kick with 1:30 left in the game.
Tri-Cities head coach Hemal Patel had then seen enough and pulled his team off the field.
Turcotte, a senior who comes off the bench, was pleased that he was able to help his team.
"Coach McCook tells us all the time that someone new has to step up and play big, and I was able to take advantage of my opportunities (Tuesday)," Turcotte said. "I wanted to come in and try to give us a spark, and I just was in the right place at the right time."
Jenkins girls knocks out Lady Bears
Houston Co. boys hosting second round 04/25/08
For most of the match, Jenkins High Lady Warrior soccer players didn’t display much in terms of strong kicking skills. That is, until it mattered. From seemingly out of nowhere, Jenkins’ Tori Futrell crushed the ball from about 30 yards away from the goal. At 4:23 remaining, that hot shot stopped at the back of the net, and the Lady Warriors from Savannah eliminated the Houston County High Lady Bears 2-1 Wednesday in the opening round of the 2008 GHSA AAAAA playoffs. For Jenkins, it was the second straight visit to the Warner Robins area for state tournament play. Last year Warner Robins High beat the Lady Warriors 3-0 in the second round. This year, Wednesday’s win against Houston County marked only the third win for Jenkins (14-4) against a team with a winning record.
But visiting coach Joe Hul can really thank stellar play from his sophomore goalkeeper Kalee Cross for this upset. Hul said his keeper had gone through some injury problems earlier in the season, but she racked up some amazing saves on Wednesday despite prior problems with long kicks (something Houston County uses often from Elizabeth Weber, Amanda Coggins and Jessica Scarlett) and playing the second half with the sun in her eyes. For Houston County, the match became an immediate uphill climb as Jenkins scored barely two minutes into the opening half. It was a matter of speed for the Lady Warriors as they took the ball down the left side of the field and took a quick and successful first shot on goal. Hul’s team did all it could from there to use tight marking and clogging of the passing lanes on Houston’s offensive end to protect the 1-0 lead. Cross had six saves in the first half, but also saw the Lady Bears miss some open opportunities.
Weber, Coggins and April Holloway helped the home team dominate possession time by winning the 50-50 balls. Samantha Wheeler, a freshman, and Rebecca Primm played well off Sid Baxley’s bench in keeping the ball at midfield. When Jenkins did make some token pushes, Clarie Jacques had a great half in shutting down the right side of the field. Kailey Garrison had three shots in the first half. Two of those were saved, and another was the result of Cross’ mishandle of a Scarlett long shot. But Garrison’s rebound rolled to the wrong end of the side bar. Cross made three more saves of the spectacular variety in the first six minutes of the second half. She reached up to catch a little loop by Kierston Wharton and stopped a liner from Garrison. Houston didn’t attack the net much again for about 12 minutes. But a charge by Wheeler created an open net. Garrison didn’t miss this time on the rebound for a 1-1 tie at 13:56. Jenkins turned much more offensive minded with the tied score, and the Lady Warriors even missed an open net after a fine play from Lady Bear keeper Teresa Davis. Jenkins also took a shot from the same spot as the winning goal that went over the goal.
HC BOYS CRUISE
Karl Chester had three goals and Ryan Barrick and Josh Salmon each had two as the Houston County High boys soccer team smashed Johnson High of Savannah 7-0 Tuesday in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAAA tournament. Six different players had assists for the Bears, including Barrick. Cameron Bradley, Richie Wimsatt, Alex Baughman, Dallas Hall (2) and Brandon Davey all helped out in the scoring efforts. Kyle Clodfelter had the shutout at goalkeeper.
Coach Chris McCook said his team was trying some new formations in hoping to earn more success in this year’s state tournament. He said this first round match wasn’t the best test for that, but that the Bears executed well and played hard. McCook said it was important to get an early lead, and it was 3-0 in the first half. But he said to the team at halftime that at some point they will have to battle from behind and wanted to see a stronger second half. He got that with four more points.
The Bears next play Tri-Cities at home on Tuesday. Though Houston is the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAAA, the next match is at home because Tri- Cities, at No. 4 from Region 4-AAAAA, upset 2-AAAAA champion Luella. This will be a rematch of last year’s first-round match.
Bears not tested by Atom Smashers
By Jonathan Heeter - firstname.lastname@example.org
WARNER ROBINS --
Chris McCook knew his strategy was risky.
But the Houston County head soccer coach figured a switch in his defense would be needed if the Bears were to challenge for a state championship.
The switch, which was designed to add a proficient counter attack, got mixed review in its first trial Tuesday night. But the Bears didn't really need it in a 7-0 win over Johnson-Savannah in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA playoffs.
"B-minus," McCook said of the defense. "I saw some good things and some things we need to work on. For the first time out, I thought it went well. There's still room for improvement."
The 10th-ranked Bears (15-4) altered their defense from using a true sweeper to one who could put pressure on the opposing team. It allowed the Bears to use an extra attacker to create some more offense on a counter attack. McCook said he wasn't sure if the strategy will be used going forward in the playoffs.
"We might go back to the other defense or use this one or play both," he said. "We'll see. We definitely feel comfortable mixing them up."
The Atom Smashers (10-8) never tested the new Houston County defense. Their only good look on goal came in the second half on a free kick that Bears sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Clodfelter punched over the crossbar.
"I knew he would try to put a soft shot over our wall, so I was about 70 percent sure of where it was going," Clodfelter said.
The Bears had no problem generating offense.
They had three goals during the first 25 minutes of the game, highlighted by a pair of goals by Karl Chester. Josh Salmon added the other first-half goal.
"It really makes it a lot easier when we are out there scoring first," Clodfelter said. "The confidence goes up. We felt like with a lead and a good second half that we would win."
The Bears tacked on four more goals during the second half to pick up their fourth largest margin of victory this season. Chester picked up a hat trick with a goal in the second half.
Friday's Late Boys Soccer Box
HOUSTON COUNTY 6, VALDOSTA 1
Houston County earns big win over Warner Robins
-By Robyn Disney www.macon.com
WARNER ROBINS --When Houston County senior April Holloway walked off the soccer field Tuesday, she was in tears and her teammates immediately asked her what was wrong. She had broken her right foot last week and thought maybe she was in pain.But those tears were not of pain. They were of joy. For the first time since her freshman year, the Lady Bears beat Warner Robins, posting a 4-3 victory that gave the Demonettes their first region loss since 2006. The Demonettes entered GHSA Region 1-AAAAA last year.
"It was so emotional," said Holloway, who had the Lady Bears' second goal. "We try our hardest. We put our heart (in) the game, and we always lose. So it finally felt good to win." more pictures
Houston County (10-4, 9-2) caught a lucky bounce against Warner Robins (12-2, 8-1) late in the match. With the score tied at 3 and with less than three minutes to go in regulation, the Lady Bears were putting pressure on the Demonettes' defense. Elizabeth Weber crossed the ball from the left side of the field, hoping to find a teammate. But the ball bounced off the foot of a Warner Robins player and into the net.
"We had a little bit of luck (Tuesday)," Houston County head coach Sid Baxley said. "In the previous game (a 5-2 Demonettes win), they had a little bit of luck and we had opportunities to score and didn't. We had opportunities (Tuesday) that went in, and they had opportunities that didn't."
Weber also had an assist to tie the game when her corner kick landed in front of Jessica Scarlett, who kicked the ball in to tie the game at 3 in the 72nd minute.
Junior Courtney Walker had two goals for the Demonettes, who still sit on top of the region standings with two matches left. If both teams win out, Warner Robins will claim the top seed. Both teams will host first-round state tournament games.
• WARNER ROBINS BOYS 2 - HOUSTON COUNTY 1
Warner Robins senior stopper Jonathan Applegate beat Houston County goalkeeper Mark Hoskins in a penalty-kick shootout to give the Demons the victory over their region and city rivals.
Warner Robins won the shootout 4-2.
"That's the third time in the past two seasons that I've kicked last (in penalty kicks)," Applegate said. "You get nervous, but it is not that bad."
If the Demons (8-3-1, 8-1) win the rest of their region matches (Coffee, Tift County and Lowndes), they will win the region title. The Bears (13-3, 9-2) were sitting in the top spot prior to Tuesday's game. They were also ranked 11th in the classification.
Houston County almost got the win in the 69th minute when senior striker Kyle Turcotte came up and to the left of Demons goalkeeper Kyle Wisniewski. The keeper came to get the ball, and Turcotte kicked it right past him. But the Bears were called offsides, and the goal did not count.
Houston County had another opportunity, this time in the penalty-kick phase.
Coach Andy Bailey said. "This game, Houston County, is always a battle."
Prep Game Day
Some tight soccer games: A game decided in penalty kicks after two overtimes? Two games decided by 1-0 scores? It has been a great past couple of days for soccer fans. The Westside boys team won 3-2 over Central on Tuesday, and the Houston County boys team beat Colquitt County 1-0 on Friday while Tattnall Square's girls team defeated Central Fellowship Christian 1-0 on Friday. With the GHSA postseason around the corner, soccer fans can expect more close games.
Houston County at Warner Robins, soccer, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday: Soccer fans will want to bring a lawn chair because it will be worth staying for both games. The girls kick off at 5:30 p.m. with Warner Robins trying to keep its region winning streak alive at 19. But the Lady Bears are No. 2 in the region with a loss to Warner Robins and Tift County. The boys will kick off at 7:30 p.m. with Houston County, ranked 11th in AAAAA, trying to avenge its only region loss of the season. Warner Robins, which won the earlier game 1-0, also has one region loss. This could decide the region title.
HOUSTON COUNTY 1, COLQUITT COUNTY 0
JV Girls beat Tift to take region title, cap
this links to a 7 minute photo essay.....it will take a while to load......it's worth your time......from South Georgia Sports Network
Colquitt County JV soccer team falls to HoCo in tournament finals
Published March 27, 2008 11:02 pm — The Colquitt County boys soccer team was defeated 5-1 by Houston County on Thursday in the finals of the Region 1-AAAAA tournament, held in Tifton.
The match was originally scheduled to be played in Moultrie, but Houston County was unable to travel that far because of the 100-mile limit rule.
Colquitt defeated Coffee 3-0 and Valdosta 2-1 in penalty kicks to reach the finals and finishes the season with a 6-8 record.
Houston led 2-0 at the half and was up 5-0 before the Packers scored a goal. Coach Ashley Hill said it was unclear which player scored the goal. "Even when we were down, nobody gave up,” Hill said. “They’ve got nothing to hang their heads about. I’m proud of them.”
JV put Demons to rest
Houston’s Bears edge Tift
March 25,2008 – Houston County’s Karl Chester scored a goal with nine minutes left to play Tuesday night, giving the Bears a 1-0 win over Tift County in soccer action.
"Our defense played well and we maintained possession all night,” said Houston coach Chris McCook. “We rotated a lot of people in and we had some sick tonight. Tift County played us tough like they always do and it was a really good match.”
The Bears will visit Colquitt County Friday night in a rematch of last week’s game when Houston won 2-1 in overtime. Tift County will be at Valdosta Friday night at 8 p.m.
Successful soccer weekend for Bears
It was senior weekend, and a successful, satisfying one for Houston County High soccer players. Both the boys and girls teams are fighting to stay in the hunt for first place in Region 1-AAAAA, and with two wins apiece at home the Bears and Lady Bears continue to put pressure on the remainder of the league. READ MORE
Click HERE for pictures from the Colquitt matches.