After sitting out a few games to start the 1950 season for transfer rules, Cook made his debut against Heflin. Cook etched his name into Alexandria lore by hauling in the game-winning touchdown pass from Sergeant Prickett in the final minutes, helping Alexandria win the game en route to its first perfect season.
That was just the start of Cook’s remarkable athletics career, which has earned him a spot in the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame.
“It means a lot,” said Cook, now living in Shorter. “It’s a great honor. You go back and dig up stuff you did 60 years ago, and to get rewarded for it feels great.”
Cook, a standout for Alexandria’s football, basketball and baseball teams, quickly became an icon in the local sports community.
So much so that some of the youth, such as Phil Robertson — who eventually worked with Cook decades later at B.F. Goodrich — couldn’t help but take interest.
Robertson was in 6th grade when Cook was a senior in high school and said he remembers being amazed by Cook’s athletic abilities.
“Pete Cook was just a great all-around athlete,” Robertson said. “He was just a natural at anything he did and he was a smooth athlete because he made everything look effortless. He made spectacular catches and he ran for long touchdowns after catches. As a downfield blocker, he’d often take two players out.
“He was just a great athlete and the type that young kids would look up to and try to pattern themselves after.”
No matter the season, Cook shined in the athletics venue. He was an all-state football player in 1952. During his three years, Alexandria lost just four times — including a Turkey Bowl against Anniston when Cook had to sit out with an injured elbow.
Cook also earned the Most Valuable Player award in the inaugural Calhoun County basketball tournament in 1951-52. He followed that performance by winning the honor again in 1952-53. As a sophomore, Cook set a then-single-game record by scoring 33 points in a game.
As Robertson remembers, Cook also had a flair for the dramatic.
“He was a fierce competitor,” Robertson said. “If the game was on the line and defeat was imminent, Pete took it to two levels higher than anybody else playing.”
Robertson recalled one game when Anniston led Alexandria by 10 points with less than two minutes to play. Robertson said Cook took control of the game and engineered an Alexandria comeback win.
Cook’s best skill might have been on the pitcher’s mound. The right-hander hurled several shutouts. He remembers tossing a couple no-hitters as well as a few one- and two-hitters during his senior year. When Cook wasn’t pitching, he helped anchor Alexandria’s lineup by playing in the outfield.
One of Cook’s biggest highlights came when, as a senior, he forced a playoff game for a postseason berth by beating Anniston.
Cook pitched a three-hitter, striking out 10, leading Alexandria to a 3-1 win. Cook also scored what proved to be the winning run.
The St. Louis Cardinals tried hard to sign Cook out of high school, but he had already signed to play football and baseball with Alabama.
Cook played three seasons at Alabama, starting as a receiver during his junior year. He did not return for his senior year because he thought he would get drafted into the service for the Vietnam War.
Cook said he is happy with how everything worked out. Instead of professional sports, Cook has enjoyed a successful career with B.F. Goodrich.
He will reach 50 years next year. Cook also officiated basketball games for seven years — including games for Troy and Jacksonville State — until his knees gave out on him.
After giving up football and baseball, Cook took up golf. His brother-in-law, Edwin Carpenter, helped Cook learn the sport.
Cook learned the game as a left-handed player — he threw right-handed, but hit left-handed in baseball. Robertson remembers Cook as a bogey golfer as a lefty.
A couple years later, Cook switched to playing right-handed because the clubs were nicer. His golf game improved even more as a result.
Age, as well as his knees, each of which have been replaced, might have caught up to Cook, but he’s still got that same competitive streak.
He plays golf three days per week and reached a new career milestone when he shot his age, 75, in a round in April at Arrowhead Country Club in Montgomery.