Coach of a Lifetime: The Story of Lewis Cook Jr., Legendary High School Football Coach

Notre Dame Football Coach Lewis Cook, Jr. and Gaylon White, the author of the soon-to-be-released book, Coach of a Lifetime: The Story of Lewis Cook Jr., Legendary High School Football Coach, join Discover Lafayette to discuss Louie’s incredible and historical journey in coaching over the past 50 years.

Coach Louie Cook is renowned for being among the best high school football coaches ever and for his winning teams. He has been inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame. In 2019, the New Orleans Saints honored him as their High School Coach of the Year.

One of Coach Cook’s favorite movies is “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” There is a great quote, ” When the legend becomes fact, print the legend! Gaylon says, “We printed the legend!”

Getting to the top of Coach Cook’s field has involved staying true to the three F’s: Faith, Family, and Football, in that order. Young men learn that character, discipline, and doing the right thing will lead to a bright future.

Coach Cook playing quarterback for Rayne High School.

Coach Cook’s mission is to build young men into adults who respect others, follow the rules, and develop discipline in all areas of life. It’s not about winning….it’s about the process, about showing up and doing the right thing. All the other things, such as winning, take care of themselves if you get the fundamentals down. And Coach Cook motivates his young players to do the right thing by treating them as people who are capable of doing the right thing! We wish all young men had mentors such as Coach Louie Cook who took the time to look them in the eye when they are talking….and treat them as they were the only person in the room…in the world!

Gaylon White’s newest book on Lewis Cook, Jr. may be pre-ordered at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

One of his proteges was the outstanding Orlando Thomas who played under Coach Cook at Crowley High School and then USL, before going on to play for the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Cook and Thomas enjoyed a bond that was unbreakable and full of love. Orlando Thomas was one of many stars that Cook coached, including Brandon Stokley and Jake Delhomme.

Pictured here with a sculpture given to him by NFL Defensive Back Orlando Thomas commemorating him as “Coach of a Lifetime” is Coach Lewis Cook, Jr. Sadly, Orlando Thomas who wore the number 42 on his jersey passed away at 42 years of age. His father passed away at the age of 42. Gaylon Thomas pointed out the poignancy of his life: Orlando was the 42nd draft pick in the NFL draft in 1995. Coach Cook was in effect, his father.

“The one word you hear the least from our staff is ‘winning.’ We preach more to the kids that if you do the right thing, if you work hard, everything takes care of itself. We don’t harp on the outcome of what they are doing. A winning record doesn’t make you a winner. A losing record doesn’t make you a loser. It’s how you go about doing the things you do every day. We preach to the kids, just do things right.”

Coach Louie Cook, pictured center, being honored as Saints High School Football Coach of the Year in 2019.

There are 160 young men at Notre Dame High School this year….and in this summer’s first practice on June 5th at 5:30 a.m., 73 boys showed up. By 6 am, when everyone was present for practice, there were 121 boys. They average between 110 and 115 for seven days now! The coach doesn’t cut players; anyone who wants to play is on the team.

We first met Gaylon White a couple of years ago on this podcast when he released a book entitled, The Best Little Baseball Town in the World” which highlighted Crowley LA and the Evangeline Baseball League. His writing style is impeccable and he pulls the reader in with his attention to detail and ability to become a part of the story being shared. He is also able to solicit well-known sportsmen and coaches who vouch for the stories he tells. Interestingly, this is Gaylon’s first book on football, although he did cover Oklahoma Football back in the day when he was in college. His publisher, Roman & Littlefield, told him they had never seen a book dedicated to a high school football coach. It’s about time! Congratulations, Gaylon. Thanks for being a supporter of Discover Lafayette and our community!

Pictured is Gaylon White, author of Coach of a Lifetime: The Story of Lewis Cook Jr., Legendary High School Football Coach. A favorite quote he heard about Coach Cook is, “He takes sons of crawfish and rice farmers and he turns them into very good athletes and outstanding people!” Visit to learn more about all of Gaylon’s books and this latest classic on Coach Lewis Cook, Jr.!

We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we have!