Information taken from M-Club Alumni Association Sports Hall of Fame, inducted 4/26/69
Former NFL Scout with the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles
There have been few players that have worn the Black and Gold at Southern Miss that have worn it with as much pride and distinction as Hamp Cook. As both a player and an assistant coach Cook’s love of Southern Miss, his skills at playing the game he loves and they way he played the game, were unique. In fact there were very few guards that played the game the way Cook did, either at Southern Miss or around the country. He lined up at guard for Coach Thad (Pie) Vann during the 1952 through 1954 seasons and was a key figure in 25 victories over that span. Guards didn’t get a lot of the attention in football back then. Fans were more concerned about watching the dazzling running backs of the day run up and down the field or watching the quarterbacks sail another pass as far down the field as they could. But Cook brought another approach to playing guard and linebacker. He wasn’t the type of person that worried to much about winning honors and awards. No he was more concerned about what the team did and what the team accomplished. Cook was never one of the biggest players to play his position; in fact most of the time he was probably at a disadvantage as far as height and weight was concerned. But he never looked at it as a disadvantage instead he made up for that lack of size with his wonderful knowledge of the game and an intestinal fortitude, second to none. He had been rejected by other senior colleges because of his size and came to Southern Miss as a 170-pounder from Georgiana, Alabama. But it didn’t take long for him to earn some playing time. In 1952 he began learning the ropes and saw plenty of playing time as a reserve on a great Southern Miss team that posted a 10-2 record and played Pacific in the Sun Bowl. In 1953 Cook was one of the leading blockers for one of the school’s best running combination, Hugh Laurin Pepper and Bucky McElroy. Defensively he was one of the team’s leading tacklers and finished second on the squad in interceptions with three and the opponent’s averaged only 155.2 yards a game. That team was 9-2 and returned to the Sun Bowl. Cook’s finest year may have been 1954, where as a senior he again was the leader on the offensive line and on defense where he again was one of the leading tacklers and had an interception on a 6-4 team. He earned first team Little All-American honors that season. Later in his career Cook spent six seasons as an assistant coach under Vann and P.W. Underwood, where he again was a part of some of the best teams in school history. Cook has also spent a large portion of his life as a player personnel scout for the New Orleans Saints. His contributions to Southern Miss have been many and Cook no doubt has earned a unique spot in the school’s history.