Oct. 4, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. - Former UCLA standout and Calabasas native Jason Cook joins the Pepperdine men's tennis staff as an assistant coach, it was announced today. Cook brings a large range of experience to Malibu, and has coached at both the collegiate and professional levels.
"I am so proud to announce Jason Cook as our new men's tennis assistant coach," commented head coach Adam Steinberg, who is in his 10th season with the Waves. "What stood out to me about Jason was his enthusiasm about being a part of the Pepperdine family. We were looking for someone that felt the size of our school, the mission of our University and the great tradition of our tennis program was a great fit for them, and we found that in Jason."
"Honestly, I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with joy and excitement when I heard the news," said Cook of his reaction to getting the job. "Pepperdine is such a prestigious school with a rich tennis history. I am humbled to be a part of this program.
"Being back in Southern California, and more specifically Malibu, is an absolute dream come true," Cook continued. "There is no better place in the world to combine athletics with academics than at Pepperdine, and to be able to work side-by-side with a national championship coach on a daily basis, is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can't wait to be a part of the momentum already established by Coach Steinberg and also further the winning culture here."
As an assistant coach Cook will be involved in all facets of the program, from recruiting and player development to fundraising and coordinating team travel.
"I look for Jason to have a major impact on our program in every way possible," stated Steinberg. "I trust that with his experience as a player and a coach he will hit the ground running and help bring back a national championship to Malibu."
Cook was a member of the UCLA men's tennis team from 1997-1999. As a Bruin, he earned All-American and All Pac-10 honors in 1999. The year prior, he won the Pac-10 Singles Championship. He helped lead the Bruins to National Indoor titles in 1997 and 1999 and a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 1999.
Prior to UCLA, Cook spent one season at New Mexico where he was named the WAC Freshman of the Year in 1996.
As a professional, Cook has worked and competed with some of the tennis world's most recognized and accomplished players. Throughout his pro career, Cook served as a practice partner for the likes of such tennis greats as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova and Jim Courier and was ranked as high as No. 368 in doubles and No. 662 in singles in the ATP professional rankings.
Cook was the touring coach for ATP tour player (and brother) Lester Cook from 2007-08. In that season, Lester went from #466 in the rankings to #348. He would go on to achieve a career-high singles ranking of #191 in 2010.
Prior to that, Cook was an assistant coach at the University of Miami for two seasons. During Cook's tenure, the Hurricanes went from #73 in the ITA Collegiate Rankings to a top-10 team and runner-up in the ACC.
Most recently, Cook has worked with the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) in Carson, Calif. as a player development coach. There, he worked directly with Patrick McEnroe and Jose Higueras in implementing the USTA's new coaching philosophy of developing top national junior players on clay.
Cook replaces Nick Carless, who resigned in September after being named head men's tennis coach at Cal Poly.
"I am absolutely thrilled that Nick was named the head coach for the Mustangs," said Steinberg. "Nick has been ready for this moment for a long time and I know that he will do a tremendous job leading Cal Poly to great things.
"Nick was more than my assistant for the last four years. He became part of my family and always will be. I could not have been prouder of someone in my life than I am of him and wish him only success in the future."
"I owe a debt of gratitude to Pepperdine," said Carless on his final day on campus. "I'm so thankful to Adam and everyone else for preparing me for this next chapter in my life."
Cook and the Waves are currently in Tulsa, Okla., where they are competing at the ITA All-American Championships.
The Waves have eight letterwinners back from the 2010-11 squad including All-American Sebastian Fanselow. All-WCC singles selections Alex Llompart and Finn Tearney are also back, although Llompart is taking the fall off and will not join the team until January. Following five fall tournaments, the Waves open the 2012 dual season on Jan. 22 at Fresno State.