Valdosta Daily Times

January 28, 2014

Jon Lindsey hired as Cook football coach

Jamie Wachter
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After leading Irwin County to its first 10-win season since 1999, Jon Lindsey is now looking to duplicate that success at Cook.

Lindsey, who went 20-13-1 in three seasons with the Indians, was approved by the board of education Monday night after accepting the Hornets' job. In Adel, Lindsey will replace Ken Cofer, who stepped down after the 2013 season following four years and a 32-15 mark.

“Really, it just seemd like a good fit,” Lindsey said. “I liked the people when I interviewed. It feels like a really good fit with the school system and it has very nice facilities.

“I just liked the tradition of football there.”

That tradition at Cook includes 14 straight playoff appearances and five consecutive winning seasons. The Hornets' last sub-.500 finish was a 5-6 record in 2006. A year later, Cook won 10 games and played in a state semifinal. All that success came in Class AA, but the Hornets will be moving into Class AAA this season. Cook was originally placed in Class AAAA due to isolation but won its appeal to play football where its enrollment lies, one class lower.

In Ocilla, Lindsey took over a Class A program coming off three straight losing seasons and after a 3-7 mark in 2011, he guided Irwin to a 7-4 mark in 2012 and a 10-2-1 finish this past season and a Class A public semifinal appearance. While having to build from the ground up with the Indians, Lindsey is excited to take over the solid program Cofer left behind at Cook.

“I feel like coach Cofer did a really good job there, and is leaving the program in good shape,” he said. “My plan is to pick it up and take it to the next level. Here, I felt like we started from the ground up and had a lot of support from the community and people of Irwin County.

“It worked here, and I think the same thing will work at Cook and we'll build it to the next level.”

That success at Irwin was definitely part of the attraction of bringing Lindsey to Adel.

“He has a strong work ethic and strong morals,” Cook principal Keith Croft said. “We just feel like he's a good fit right now.

“He's done a great job at Irwin County and had great success there the past few years he's been there. We just feel like he's going to be a good fit for us here at this time.”

The former Camden County defensive coordinator, who was on the Wildcats' staff during state championship runs in 2008 and 2009, built his turnaround at Irwin with a powerful Wing-T ground attack. Lindsey said he is still in the process of watching film and evaluating his new players, and that the Hornets will find a way to get to the ball to their playmakers out of that offense.

“We'll run a version,” he added. “Here I had some really good running backs and we handed them the ball. At Cook, I've already noticed I've got some pretty good receivers, so we'll find a way to get them the football.

“If you can mix a good Wing-T run game with a good passing game, it's really hard to beat. We'll take our strengths and make them stronger and try to improve our weaknesses, too.”