Kelly Cook, most recently an assistant coach at Dartmouth and a former standout Patriot League student-athlete herself, was named head women’s soccer coach at Bucknell on March 24, 2015. Cook became the fourth head coach in the 25-year history of the Bison women’s soccer program, and she took over a team that is coming off a 10-9-1 season and a berth in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals.
Cook wasted little time impacting the Bison program in her first season in Lewisburg. In her very first season as a head coach, she guided the team to a 6-1-2 Patriot League record (11-6-3 overall), a first-round bye in the Patriot League Tournament and an appearance in the championship game for the first time since 2007. Under the direction of Cook, the Bison set program records in shutouts (11), consecutive shutouts (6) and scoreless minutes (655.03) while going unbeaten in eight-straight contests.
Cook was named Patriot League Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2015, becoming the first Bucknell coach to receive the award since 2001. She also coached six players voted onto All-Patriot League teams.
In 2016, Bucknell is expected to return nine players who were regular starters last season.
A 2006 graduate of Colgate University, Cook entered the coaching ranks at Amherst College, where she spent three years as an assistant coach with a nationally ranked Division III program. In 2010 she moved on to Dartmouth, and over the last five years with the Big Green she coached 26 All-Ivy League players and five NSCAA All-Region honorees. Dartmouth finished in second place in the competitive Ivy League in three of her five years there, and the team posted a 40-34-9 record during her tenure, including a 29-15-7 mark over the last three seasons. The 2012 team fell one shy of the school record for wins in a season with 13, and last year’s Big Green squad finished 8-5-4 overall and 3-1-3 in the Ivy League, just missing out on the conference title in a race that came down to the final day of the season.
In addition to her on-field coaching duties at Dartmouth, Cook also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator, and she was involved with the program’s fundraising and alumni functions. Those efforts helped lead to an overseas trip to England and Scotland in June 2013.
While at Dartmouth, Cook served as assistant director of Elite Soccer Camps of New England. From 2008-13 she was an Olympic Development Program (ODP) coach in New Hampshire, and during her tenure at Amherst she was assistant director of AWS Elite Soccer Academy.
A native of Warners, New York, near Syracuse, Cook is no stranger to the Patriot League. She was a two-year captain and three-time Second Team All-Patriot League selection at Colgate, where she recorded 27 goals and 23 assists in her career. She ranked in the top 10 in program history in career points (77) and assists. As a junior in 2004, Cook was named Patriot League Tournament MVP after leading the Raiders to the league title, and then her team knocked off Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the first NCAA win in school and league history.
At Colgate, Cook was a two-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll member, and she earned the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. She also spent time playing in the W-League with the Rochester Rhinos and the Western Mass Pioneers. In 2010 she earned a master’s in education degree in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts.
“I would like to thank John Hardt, Maisha Kelly and the wonderful people I met during the hiring process at Bucknell,” said Cook. “I was so impressed with the Bucknell athletic department, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to join them. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the Bucknell women’s soccer team. I believe Bucknell is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally. I value the student-athlete experience and the mission of Bucknell and the Patriot League. I look forward to meeting the student-athletes and getting to work. Finally, I would like to thank head coach Ron Rainey and the Dartmouth athletic administration for their support during my time at Dartmouth.”
“I am excited to welcome Coach Kuss to the Bucknell Athletics family,” said director of athletics and recreation John Hardt at the time of her hiring. “As a former Patriot League student-athlete herself, and then as a coach at two academically rigorous institutions in Dartmouth and Amherst, Kelly knows first-hand what it takes to manage the challenges of being a student-athlete at an institution like Bucknell. I am confident that experience and leadership will be immediate assets to the program, and that the women’s soccer team will continue to challenge for Patriot League titles on a regular basis.”
Cook resides in Lewisburg with her husband Andrew.