Cook new head football coach, McGehee AD at Ben’s Ford

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ben’s Ford Christian School has named a new football coach and athletic director to replace Cole Holden, who recently accepted the head football coach and head track coaching jobs at Wayne Academy.

Robert N. Cook will take over as the head football coach and Mark McGehee is the school’s new athletic director.

Cook, 57, comes to Ben’s Ford with coaching experience at the high school, college and professional levels.

“We’re excited,” Cook said. “We got the call to come, and it was a blessing from God. We’re excited to get in here with these young people, with these men of God. Everyday we wake up, we’re going to wake up and say, ‘How are we going to honor God today?’ We’re excited to get to work.”

Cook began coaching at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama) from 1989-1991 as the linebackers coach, before going to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (1992-94), as the linebackers coach. Cook said then-Atlanta Falcons coach June Jones used to come to Tennessee-Chattanooga’s golf tournament.

Cook said that he used to tell Jones that if he ever needed help that he’d like to interview and one day, Jones called.

He went to the Falcons and was there for four years (1995-98), as the defensive quality control coach.

After that, Cook took a year off from coaching after his daughter passed away, but came back to the profession at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (1999-2000), where he coached the linebackers.

Cook took some time away from coaching after retiring from MGCCC.

Most recently, he’s coached at Prairie View Academy (2011-12) and Prentiss Christian School (2012-13). He was the offensive coordinator at Prairie View and the defensive coordinator at Prentiss.

Cook is in the process of familiarizing himself with the team.

“There is a group of fabulous young men here, but we are about to focus on technique and discipline,” Cook said. “The Apostle Paul said, and I’m paraphrasing, but he said that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Well, we’re hungry. We’re hungry for that championship and we’re about to put on a hard hat on and go to work.”

Cook is also a former player. He played defensive end for the University of Tennessee, and received an invitation to camp with the Seattle Seahawks.

The assistant coaches for the Eagles are Rickey Warren, Brett Evans, Pete Underwood and Destin Pittman.

Warren, who works for Rayburn Correctional Center, joined the Ben’s Ford coaching staff last November and is a 1984 graduate of Bogalusa High School. He went to camp with the Saints after playing under Eddie Robinson at Grambling State University.

Evans, a 1997 Bogalusa High School graduate, is entering his third season at Ben’s Ford.

Underwood, a pastor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, helped out with the junior varsity team last season.

Pittman, a 2015 Ben’s Ford graduate, is working with the team over the summer before going back to Mississippi College, where he plays fullback for the Choctaws.

New athletic director McGehee takes over the position after spending the past three years at Ben’s Ford, following a 30-plus year career with UPS. This year, McGehee coached girls basketball and softball.

“I’m honored. I’m humbled,” McGehee said. “I’m looking forward to the next season with the coaching staff that we have and the athletic department that we have. I’m just looking forward to working with these young men and these young ladies and being a blessing to them. I’m just really looking forward to going to work.”

Pastor Brother Lynn Martin, who is the founder of Ben’s Ford Christian School, said he’s really excited about the entire staff.

“(McGehee) does a fantastic job. We’re just thankful he’s here and he’s running it,” Martin said.

Martin said the school is grateful for all of their coaches and what they’ve done.

“The coaches we have bring a wealth of knowledge and experience,” he said. “We’re grateful for what they bring. The assistants all bring energy, enthusiasm and excitement to the program.”