The wait is over and the Manchester Greyhounds have a new head varsity football coach. By unanimous decision of the Manchester Local Board of Education on Wednesday night, 25-year old Dustin Cook was promoted from the team’s quarterback coach to head coach, replacing the departed Jason Mantell. Cook, who played quarterback at Wheelersburg High School, was naturally excited about his new opportunity.
“Obviously, this is a great honor and I am very excited to continue to establish the program here in Manchester,” said Cook in an interview Thursday morning during a break in the Greyhound practice. “The last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to work under Coach Mantell who did an excellent job and we had a lot of success. Hopefully with the chemistry we have with our coaching staff and them doing an outstanding job we can continue to improve and take the program to even the next level.”
All of the coaching staff now in place are holdovers from Coach Mantell’s staff which will give some stability to the athletes who have been in the program. Last year’s junior high coach, Jeremy Peters, was moved to the role of Varsity Assistant and the vacated junior high coaching job had not been filled as of press time.
The Manchester board made some other moves on Wednesday night that will affect the football program as well as all of the other sports at the school. Nick Roberts had been serving as the school’s Athletic Director but was moved to the job of Elementary Principal, and since he was part of the interview process that resulted in Cook being chosen, he had this to say about the new head coach.
“I believe Dustin will be an excellent fit for Manchester football,” commented Roberts. “He knows his players already having been an assistant coach the last two seasons and he has a solid vision for moving the program forward in the right direction. Dustin will be an asset as he oversees the program as a whole, making himself available to our youth and junior high programs.”
“Dustin carries himself in a professional manner and has a good work ethic which will in turn lead our athletes to success on and off the field.”
Moving into the Athletic Director position is a new face that isn’t really a new face as Chris Young returns to the job. Young moves into the High School Assistant Principal position and returns to the AD position with is batteries recharged after a one-year break. Young also weighed in to The Defender on the new football coaching hires.
“Manchester is very pleased to have Dustin Cook as our Head Varsity Football Coach and Jeremy Peters as his assistant,” said Young. “Both played in extremely reputable high school programs as young men and have been sharing that knowledge and experience with the athletes in our program. We believe that we have a staff in place that will provide our football program with some coaching longevity.”
“Dustin is a young coach who already has great rapport with the athletes and staff. He will provide great leadership and football knowledge to continue building on what he and other coaches have been establishing at Manchester.”
The returning Greyhounds are also excited with the Cook hiring, knowing that their will be that sense of familiarity with the system. “I think Coach Cook is a pretty respectable guy and will do pretty well,” said senior running back Brandon Saunders. “He’s a leader and he has stepped up and showed more confidence. He’s a lot like Coach Mantell which will help our transition.”
Cook, who becomes the third Greyhound head football coach in five seasons and is the district’s Junior High Intervention Specialist, knows that time is of the essence as the Hounds open their exhibition schedule with a trip to St. Bernard on Aug. 15.
“In these next two weeks we are going to continue to improve in all aspects of the game,” said Cook. “We will get all our formations and packages in and we are really starting to zone in on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball and fine tuning all the other things.”
“We want to be sure that when we start adding contact that we have all our muscle memory and plays ready to go.”