After a season that saw the Park City High School girls' soccer team reach the state semifinals before falling in penalty kicks to eventual state champion Dixie, coach Chip Cook has been selected as the 2013 Utah girls' soccer Coach of the Year award winner by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
At the helm of a team that's made three 3A state finals appearances since 2008, Cook thinks the competitiveness of the teams she's led contributed to the award.
"I think that the award is based in some part on program excellence over the years," she said. "There has been a consistency in the program's excellence, in no small part due to the girls and their efforts, work ethic and pride in the high school program."
It's no surprise Cook deflects attention from herself after all, it took her a long time to even open the award envelope.
"It was actually kind of funny," she said. "I had this envelope in my backpack for a couple weeks and then I opened it and was like, 'Wow. I had no idea.' I was surprised, but really happy. It's a great honor."
Cook is also quick to share credit with others in Park City who have helped develop the athletes she's coached over the years.
"It goes just as much to their club coaches who help them in the offseason," she said. "They're always ready and excited to come back and get together with all the talented players we have throughout all four age groups [at PCHS]."
Perhaps one of the best things to come from having such a consistently great program, according to Cook, is seeing a good deal of her former players go on to collegiate success. But, she adds, it's not just the soccer program that sends players to college.
"Park City High School in general has really produced a tremendous amount of athletes that compete at all the collegiate levels," she said. "Quite a few have even competed at the Division I level."
If you ask Cook, that sort of success isn't manufactured just at the high school level.
"Again, it comes down to their dedication," she said. "They've put in the years and years of hard work. And, for a small community, we've had a tremendous amount of great athletes come out of here."
If there's one thing Cook hopes she's accomplished, it's fostering the love of the game in the athletes she coaches.
"I love working with the girls," she said. "I like to think I might be able to inspire passion for the game and a love for the team and a sense of pride in the high school."
She can't wait to get back to work in the fall, either, trying to lead the next group of Miners to a state title.
"Personally, I love that each year is a different challenge, with a different roster," she said. "We always have a lot of talented players it's just putting the pieces of the puzzle together. When it all comes together, it's an amazing thing."