Girls’ soccer coach Chip Cook retires
Cook coached at Park City High School for more than 20 years
In soccer, time is essential. The clock never stops running, and though there’s the few added minutes for injury time at the end of games, once that final whistle blows, the game is over.
Park City High School girls’ soccer head coach Chip Cook feels the same way about her life. Recent events, such as her father’s passing over the winter, forced Cook to take a step back and decide to devote her schedule to other things.
After weeks of meditation and constant communication with her husband Quinn, Cook, who has been involved with the Park City girls’ soccer program for more than 20 years, made the difficult decision to retire from coaching.
“It became about how precious time is,” Cook said, holding back tears in an interview with the Park Record. “Life and time are precious. It was more of a reallocation of my time and evaluation of how my kids are getting a little bit older. I want to spend as much time with them as I can while they’re still living at home and before they go away to college or move away. It was just a time thing.”
Cook’s kids, Sami and Remy, are both in their teenage years, a vital time in one’s life that Cook simply doesn’t want to miss.
“I want to be a fan,” Cook said. “I want to be a part of my kids’ lives. I have one daughter that plays soccer and I want to be her biggest fan. I want to be on the sideline and enjoying watching her play instead of feeling that additional pressure of coaching.”
Cook has left her mark on a program that she’s helped build. In her tenure as head coach, the Miners secured four state championships, locked up a No. 12 national ranking during one season, had four former players drafted to play professionally and were always a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs and region play.
While such moments will always hold a special place in her heart, the successes aren’t the ones that stick out when she looks back on her time at Park City High School.
“Every team is special and unique in its own way,” Cook said. “A top moment for me could be an off-the-field accomplishment for one of my players who started off maybe on the freshman-sophomore team and worked hard to really prove themselves that they belong on the varsity level.
“What that teaches them, and what it shows me, is that they didn’t like where they were placed and instead of giving up, they had the fortitude, the resilience, the fight, the heart, to say, ‘No, I think I belong there and I’m going to work my heart out to get there.’ And they did it.”
With the new free time the coach will soon have, she plans on, of course, spending as much time with her family as possible, but she will also continue to teach at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. Between all of her responsibilities, soccer, which could take up an additional 30-40 hours per week during the season, was the odd one out.
Cook said she doesn’t want to be sub-standard at any of her responsibilities.
“People are important and when something is that important, you don’t take it lightly,” Cook said. “When you feel like you don’t have as much to give as you need to give, and you’d like to be able to spend more time elsewhere, that’s when it becomes evident that maybe it’s not fair or maybe it’s the right time to hand the reins off to someone else.”
Cook will help with the transition, guiding whoever the school decides to hire as her replacement into the new era. It’s never easy for a long-tenured coach like Cook to walk away from her post without feeling sentimental, a feeling that will surely be present in current and former players learn the news.
But the now-former head coach will be around. Chance are she’ll be on the sideline of the girls’ soccer team’s season opener in the fall, fighting the urge to call out orders and lead the team.
“I feel like the program is in a good place right now,” Cook said. “I wish the best of luck to the new coaching staff and the kids moving forward into this new classification and region. They can do it. They’re good athletes, great kids and just some of the hardest-working players. It’s been a privilege [to coach them].
“I’ll be their biggest fan. I can’t wait.”
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