When Xavier Cook was offered the job of varsity softball coach at Mountain View High, he didn’t accept right away. Cook had to check with his family first.
After all, he already has a full-time job handling campus security at Los Gatos High and coaches Mountain View’s varsity girls basketball team.
But Cook said his wife and kids know how passionate he is about softball – a sport he has extensive experience coaching – and they encouraged him to accept athletic director Shelley Smith’s proposal.
“I talked to my family, and my wife said, ‘Why not?,” Cook recalled. “My family said, ‘Take it.’ They were excited.”
So in July, he accepted – a big relief to Smith, who was impressed with the way Cook ran the girls basketball team after being hired only a month before last season.
“I’m really glad he’s taking both of them on,” Smith said. “He’s a great guy, a good coach and a strong leader. He runs a good, tight program.”
Cook replaces Hector Perez, who stepped down after one season as softball coach. Smith said teaching full time and running a varsity program cut into Perez’s family time, but he will remain a part of the program. Perez, who guided Mountain View to the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division title last spring, will coach the junior-varsity squad, according to Cook.
Although Cook has never run a varsity softball program before, he has coached the JV teams at Silver Creek (his alma mater), Los Gatos and, most recently, Saratoga. The longtime San Jose resident also has served as a varsity assistant during a coaching career that began more than 20 years ago.
“I’m really excited to take over this program and see what I can do,” Cook said. “I’ve been so deep into basketball, but I’m a baseball kid by trade – I’ve played it all my life.”
Cook, who coached basketball at Silver Creek and Los Gatos before coming to Mountain View, said he favors a hit-and-run strategy in softball – with a few surprises sprinkled in.
“I like to be unpredictable – do what you think I’m not going to do,” the military veteran said. “And I like to be aggressive but controlled.”
Cook inherits a team returning 10 players, three of them all-leaguers. Members of a JV squad that went 22-2 last season are expected to fill the remaining roster spots.
“We have a lot of talent coming back,” he said, “and there’s young talent in that group.”
Cook hopes to take the team to Southern California in the spring for a tournament – as he did with the basketball team last winter.
“I want to test the waters,” said Cook, who was born in Los Angeles and lived there until his junior year of high school. “Everyone says Southern California is the best (for softball), so I’d like to challenge the girls.”
The Spartans’ season is scheduled to begin in late February.