2012 BOWL HERO RETURNS TO BLUE DRAGON FOOTBALL

(At left), Former Blue Dragon Kody Cook is shown running the ball in the 2012 Salt City Bowl. (At right), Cook is now the Tight End's coach for the Blue Dragons heading into the 2017 season.
(At left), Former Blue Dragon Kody Cook is shown running the ball in the 2012 Salt City Bowl. (At right), Cook is now the Tight End's coach for the Blue Dragons heading into the 2017 season.

HCC Sports Information
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kody Cook's had many memorable days playing football. Several have come at Gowans Stadium as a member of the Hutchinson Community College football team.

Beginning in 2017, Cook's memories of Gowans Stadium will likely grow as he starts a coaching career with head coach Rion Rhoades and the Blue Dragons.

Cook is one of two new coaches added to the Blue Dragon staff this summer. Cook will serve as tight end's coach, while Tony Crough takes over as Defensive Coordinator and linebackers coach.

"Both guys are great additions to our staff," HutchCC head coach Rion Rhoades said. "Kody is a young guy who brings great perspective and insight to the table. "I recruited Tony at Fort Hays, but right after he signed, I took another job. I followed his career, though. I think he's a pretty natural fit here."

The Blue Dragons are preparing for the opening of fall camp and the opening game of the 2017 season, which is on August 26 against Coffeyville at Gowans Stadium.

KODY COOK
Kody Cook was a versatile in-state player who came to Hutchinson from Louisburg before the 2011 season. Cook wound up being a two-year receiver and a punter during his freshman year with the Blue Dragons.

But his career took a most-interesting and unexpected turn in his final game at HutchCC on December 1, 2012.

The program's career-leading quarterback, Luke Barnes, injured his throwing hand in the first quarter and eventually left the game for good late in the second quarter of Hutchinson's 2012 Salt City Bowl game against Iowa Central at Gowans Stadium. The coaching staff decided to insert Cook from receiver to quarterback. Before that game, Cook, who came to Hutch as a quarterback, completed 1 of 2 passes for seven yards in his Blue Dragon career.

Cook led the Blue Dragons on a seven-play, 59-yard scoring march on his first possession as quarterback, but Iowa Central led 21-14 with 6:56 left to play in the third. At that point, Cook started to solidify his place in Blue Dragon history.

After the Blue Dragons gave up the lead, Cook led Hutchinson on four-consecutive second-half scoring drives en route to a 41-21 come-from-behind victory over the Tritons. Cook was named the Bowl's Offensive Most Valuable Player after completing 20 of 30 passes for 277 yards and tying a bowl record with five touchdown passes. Cook rushed for another touchdown.

"That game altered my career quite a bit," Cook said. "Before that game, I was looking at a few smaller schools and that bowl game put me on the radar for the higher level Division I schools. (K-State Coach Dana Dimel) told me they gave me a preferred walk-on option based off that bowl game.

"That bowl game launched my career to where I ultimately wanted to go."

As a receiver for the Blue Dragons, Cook caught 55 passes for 433 yards and three touchdowns in his career. He had at least one reception in 20 of 24 games played for the Blue Dragons. His best game statistically was a seven-catch, 103-yard performance with one touchdown against Independence in 2012.

As a punter in 2011, Cook averaged 40.0 yards per punt on 42 attempts and dropped 17 of his punts (42.5 percent) inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Cook moved onto Kansas State University where his Wildcat career mirrored his playing days in Hutchinson.

After redshirting in 2013, Cook started as a Wildcat receiver. In his senior season, he was called into emergency quarterback duty in Kansas State's game against Oklahoma State.

Cook completed 16 of 22 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns as the Wildcats nearly rallied to defeat the nationally ranked Cowboys, but came up short, 36-34. Cook had to come in again in the 2015 season finale against West Virginia, with KSU's bowl eligibility at stake. Cook led another comeback effort, this time culminating in a 24-23 victory over the Mountaineers, which made the Wildcats bowl eligible.

Cook then started the Liberty Bowl against Arkansas where he was 12 of 24 for 163 yards and a touchdown in a 45-23 Razorback victory.

"It was surreal that it kept happening over and over at K-State," Cook said. It was cool, but I was calmer there because I had gone through it before here."

After completing his eligibility, Cook served as a student assistant for legendary coach Bill Snyder. That opened the door for him to do what he had all along planned to do – coach football.

"I like being a part of football," Cook said. "My dad coached me growing up and I always found it interesting. After I was done at K-State, an opportunity presented itself. After the season was done, I had the itch to keep coaching."

"Another dimension of Kody being a former player and successful player here, I think is a big-time bonus," Rhoades said. "I'm thrilled to have him here."

TONY CROUGH

TONY CROUGH
The Garden City native comes to Hutchinson with 11 years coaching experience, three seasons as a head coach at both Great Bend and Andover high schools.

After a playing career at Fort Hays State University that concluded in 2003, Crough started his coaching career in DeSoto, Texas as a middle school coach and high school assistant. After two years at DeSoto, Crough moved onto Arlington, Texas, to coach at Oakridge High School. Five years at that program as defensive coordinator netted 33 victories and a 2011 SPC championship.

In 2013, Crough returned to the state of Kansas where he took the defensive coordinator's job at Great Bend high School. One year later, Crough was promoted to head coach. Crough led Great Bend to a 10-9 record in two seasons as a head coach, including a Western Athletic Conference championship in 2015 and the program's first playoff appearance since 2009.

Then in 2016, Crough led Andover High School to its first playoff appearance in four seasons, posting a 6-4 overall record.

"I always kept an eye on Tony's career and when he returned to Kansas, he told me that he expressed some interest in moving from high school to college," Rhoades said. "I kept that filed away and then the opportunity presented itself.

Crough and his wife, Chrisy, have twin sons – 4-year-olds Carson and Colt.