Marvin Mark Cooke was born November 18th, 1953 to Marvin Dean Cooke and Francis Brown Cooke (Ramsbotham). He spent his youth in Inman South Carolina and proudly served 4 years in the United States Air Force.
He discovered a passion for softball, playing for The Peddlers, a fast pitch men's team, coaching for USC Upstate, while he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration, and then as a grad assistant at Northeast Louisiana University. In December of 1989, he was hired by Winthrop College as head volleyball coach and softball coach. His career there spanned 29 years. During his tenure, his program was repeatedly recognized for high academic achievements. There were dozens of Big South Conference academic all-Americans, first team all-Americans, Big South players of the year and first and second team conference players. He holds the Big South Conference record for all time single season wins with 50 wins in 2007. His teams won four big South titles.
In 2019 he was inducted into the Winthrop University Athletics Hall of Fame. He will be inducted into the Big South Conference Hall of Fame in the spring of 2024.
After a rewarding career at Winthrop University, he retired in 2019. However, his coaching days were not over! He began coaching the Legion Collegiate Academy softball team, where they earned the South Carolina State Class AA title in 2021. He was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association in 2022 for his 900 win milestone. Although he retired for a second time in 2022, he still continued working with players and coaches, giving private lessons, scouting reports, and advice.
"Coach Cooke" is synonymous with softball, but not only in the US. His work with Little League International allowed him to share his passion with coaches and players in Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, and Curacao.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 33 years April Haimbaugh Cooke, his children Seth (Summer), and Noah, grandson Thomas , his sister Cindy (Cliff) Buff, brother Scott (Rita) Cooke, nieces Angela (Will) Walb, Mendy (Carl) Godman, Blythe (Leslie) Harrell, nephews Hunter (Miranda) Cooke and Christian Buff, several great nieces and great nephews, and honorary children including Chris LeGrand, Caryn Little, Cari Woodridge Moore and Dr. Lacy Adams Barnette.
Services will be held at West End Baptist Church on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at 3:00 p.m., with a visitation to follow. Arrangements are being handled by Bass-Cauthen Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Softball Excellence Fund at http://winthrop.edu/give . Choose the Softball Excellence Fund from the drop down menu. These donations will be used to rename the road to Terry Field at Winthrop in Mark's name.
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