(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- After the Scott County Central Braves came back from Columbia with a third place finish in the 2008 MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown last week, there were many who didn't know for sure if the head coach for the Braves would be back on the sidelines for next season or not.
The Scott County Central Board of Education and head coach Ronnie Cookson both came to the decision on Tuesday, that for at least one more year, the Braves will have the leadership of the Hall of Fame coach once again.
"I'm just going stay around for one more," Braves head coach Ronnie Cookson said. "The biggest thing about coming back was working with the kids. I enjoy coaching and being around the boys. It's just a part of me."
Cookson has been with Scott County Central for 27 years as the head coach of the boys program. The Braves have won a record 12 state championships with Cookson at the helm and while doing so, he compiled a career record of 689 wins and 140 losses all with Scott Central.
"It's something that I've done my whole life and I just enjoy being around them," Cookson said. "We have a lot of fun and I hope the kids enjoy it just as much as I do."
Most of the players that will be on the court for him now, is in some way related to the players Cookson started out with on the teams that won him his many titles during the 1980s and 1990s.
"It means a great deal to the school and the community that he's here," Scott Central Superintendent Dr. Joel B. Holland said. "There is a common influence with him and the school and there is a lot of parents and players from the past and present that love Coach. He just brings a lot of stability to the school."
Cookson was also hired to teach on a half-time basis and will continue to be the school's athletic director.
"We just wanted to get through this season first," Holland said. "When the season was over, we left him alone to think about it and he came to the decision that he wanted to come back. He really enjoys the kids and wanted to come back for them."
Cookson said that the 14th final four appearance that he and his Braves made last week was not in any way an influence on his decision to come back. But, the relationships he built with his players just like so many other players in the past was.
"If we win one game or 200 games it doesn't matter," Cookson said. "The trip to Columbia was great for the kids and it always has been and it always will be about the kids. I just enjoy seeing them play."
The Scott Central School District is also looking to employ an assistant coach that could possibly take over the head coaching position, once Cookson decides to step down.