It's an understandable assumption that there's only one man who knows more about the ins and outs of the Carson High baseball program than Steve Cook. And that's the man who he's replacing.
Cook was named this week to replace the legendary Ron McNutt as Carson's baseball coach. McNutt retired last spring after 29 years as the Senators' coach in a successful run that included two state titles.
Now Cook takes over on the field that he played on that's named after the man he's replacing. He has been an integral part of the Senators' success over the years.
He played for McNutt on two nationally ranked teams in 1993 and 1994 as an infielder. He went on to play for Treasure Valley Community College in Oregon and Cerro Cosso Community College in Ridgecrest, Calif., before moving on to play for Division I Marshall in West Virginia.
Cook came back to serve in the Carson program over the last six years, two as an assistant on the junior varsity level and the last four as an assistant on the varsity under McNutt. Cook has also had a successful run as coach of the Carson Cardinals summer program over the last four years and he said he will continue to direct that program.
"I was very pleased and honored to have him on my staff," said McNutt, who still serves as Carson's athletic director. "I just think that I made a good choice in who we selected to take over the baseball program at Carson High School."
McNutt said continuity was a factor in choosing Cook. "I always felt that you had to have some continuity when you're going to hire a new coach," McNutt said. "Steve's been around the kids. He knows what we have done in the Carson High School program."
Cook said it really hasn't sunk in yet that he's taking over for McNutt. "The first day when coach called me into his office and told me there was a felling of excitement and anxiety at the same time," Cook said.
Among the tasks that Cook still has to accomplish is naming his staff. "I'm in the process of getting a staff together," he said. "I have an idea of what I want to do."
McNutt said Cook understands what's ahead of him. "I think he knows what the expectations are," McNutt said. "I think he knows what it's going to take to be successful."
Carson has a strong nucleus returning for Cooks first year that includes Kevin Schlange, Logan Parsley, Royal Good, Wes Osmer, Josh Caron, Kyle Mandoki, Jack Jacquet and Murph Gardner.
"I know that we didn't leave the cupboard bare for him," McNutt said. "I think the prorgram's going to continue, not miss a beat.
"I'm not looking for big changes. We've just got a different captain taking over the ship."
Cook also said that he will continue to stress fundamentals in the same way that McNutt did.
"We'll continue to do that," Cook said. "You understand that word tradition, what it means."
McNutt said he will help out Cook with the administrative details. The 2005 baseball schedule has already been developed and Carson's preseason tournament, in which McNutt will handle the administrative details, will continue. "I'm here to help him out," McNutt said. "I'm not here to coach."
But McNutt also said Cook has experience in scheduling, finances and travel with the Cardinals.
Cook said he's already been relying heavily on McNutt. "I've been in his office more than he's come to me, five times over," Cook said. "I've been trying to pick his brain a little bit."
The goal at Carson has always been to make the state tournament and that won't change, Cook said.
"We have the opportunity every year," Cook said. "We expect to win. As far as the kids on the field, we'll be all right."
But one person who will be sorely missed will be McNutt's wife, Terrie, Cook said. "She was our real backbone," Cook said. "Replacing the people behind the scenes is a little tougher than people think."