Winning high school football games wasn’t the primary reason John Hook got into coaching.
Hook wanted to influence lives and build lifelong relationships. And he did plenty of that in 17 years at Lewis and Clark.
“The honor was working with the kids and the coaches,” Hook, 61, said. “I miss the day-to-day close relationships with student-athletes.”
Hook will be inducted in the Washington State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday in Bellevue.
Hook took the job at LC in 1983, a year after the Tigers had a winless season. Three of his teams won Greater Spokane League championships and six qualified for the state playoffs. His teams finished among the top three in league 13 times, and he had just three losing seasons.
His personal highlight came in 1998, his next-to-last season as head coach, when LC won a GSL title, finishing the regular season 9-0. He assisted his successor, Tom Yearout, the next three years as he made a transition to administrator.
Hook has been principal at Mt. Spokane the last nine years.
“John made a permanent impact on the Lewis and Clark community and was much, much more than a football coach when he was here,” said Yearout, who resigned as head coach in 2008 a year after LC captured the State 4A title. “He provided the vision and passion to rebuild the LC program into something sustainable, which included a brand of football that featured physical hard hitting. … The highlight of my coaching career is the fact that John personally recommended me to follow him. Nothing I was lucky enough to achieve after that comes close to the feeling I have about him doing that.”
A 1973 Washington State University graduate, Hook started two years at center. To his right, at guard, was WSU athletic director Bill Moos.
Hook, who celebrated his 41st wedding anniversary Monday, takes pride in the fact that some former players are professors at colleges, others are doctors and another is playing in the NFL.
“Being honored for coaching is nice, but the privilege of it is the experiences I had,” Hook said.
The WIAA on Monday released the list of schools and the classifications they compete in during the next two-year cycle that begins this fall.
Four area schools will change classifications – Rogers (4A to 3A), Medical Lake (2A to 1A), Kettle Falls (2B to 1A) and Republic (2B to 1B).
Kettle Falls is going back to the Northeast A, where it resided from 1964 to 2009. But it’s going back begrudgingly because the school has declining enrollment and will likely move back to 2B the next cycle.
“We have 216 students (for three grades) and next year we’ll have about 195. The year after that we’ll be at about 170,” Kettle Falls athletic director Brian Golphenee said.
Kettle Falls was 10 above the cutoff for 2B for the new cycle.
“We’re not the happiest campers on the planet, but it is what it is,” Golphenee said.
It was thought that Pullman would drop to 1A. But the cutoff put Pullman four over and the second-smallest school in 2A.
“It’s no problem for us,” Pullman A.D. Mike Davis said. “We’ve been very competitive in the Great Northern League and 2A level.”
Republic is looking forward to 1B.
“We’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s been a scheduling nightmare the last two years,” Republic A.D. Burl Coffee said.
Saxons to Big Sky
Three Ferris football standouts are headed to the Big Sky Conference.
Drew Sharkey (defensive end) has given Eastern Washington University an oral commitment and Cole Lemer (linebacker) and Kurt Karstetter (linebacker) have given Idaho State University oral commitments.
All three were first-team all-Greater Spokane League selections. Sharkey was a first-team All-State pick.
Karstetter and Lemer will join former Ferris teammate Cody Sorensen in Pocatello.