Nicole Cook was named Assistant Track & Field Coach and Director of Cross Country in August of 2010. Prior to her arrival in Richmond, Cook had spent time on the professional track circuit and in high school coaching.
"Nicole is going to be an incredible asset for this program," Track & Field Head Coach Jon Riley said. "She's very familiar with the area and well-known throughout the state. With her addition, we hope to attract high quality distance athletes. We're not looking for a quick fix, but I feel over a period of time, we can demonstrate our commitment to getting better in that area."
Her addition to the Virginia Commonwealth University Track & Field staff was a bit of a homecoming. Cook was a decorated high school track star a half hour down I-95 at Petersburg High School before her decorated career as a Tennessee Volunteer. Cook was a headliner for the Petersburg High Crimson Wave, racking up state and national accolades. She was the state champion in the 500 meters and indoor national champion in the 800 meters. To this day, several of her high school state records still stand.
Her collegiate career was just as decorated as her high school career. During her time at Tennessee, Cook became the premiere 800 meter runner in the SEC. She made an immediate impact in Knoxville and was named Track & Field Lady Vol Athlete of the Year as a freshman.
She later became a fixture on the Vols’ Distance Medley Relay squad, which won an NCAA Indoor Championship in 2004. Cook would also earn individual glory becoming an 800 meter national champion. That same year, Cook made it to the final 800 meter qualifying round of the Olympic trials. Her excellence on the track was matched in the classroom, as she also made the Lady Vol Academic Honor Roll in 2004. She graduated from Tennessee with a degree in Social Work.
Cook’s personal inspirations as an athlete included three-time gold medalist of the 1960 Rome Olympic games, Wilma Rudolph and four-time Olympian, and fellow Tennessee alum, Joetta Clark.
She hopes to build on her rock star status in the local track & field community and help create a new generation of stars at VCU.