A veteran head coach with over 300 career wins, Stephen Cooksey will begin his 25th year at the helm of the Navy men's track and field program in 2012-13.
In his two-plus decades at the helm of the Navy men's track and field program, the former All-American high jumper and five-time Patriot League Coach of the Year has guided 12 Midshipmen to a total of 19 All-America honors, with Zack Duncavage earning the most recent distinction with a 16-place finish in the discus at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship.
Under his watch, Navy has compiled an overall dual meet record of 310-46 (.871), while earning five Patriot League team titles and a total of 168 individual league crowns.
His teams have registered at least 10 combined victories 18 times and in 19 of 24 years as the Midshipmen's top mentor. Moreover, since the start of the 1998-99 season, he has led Navy to a stellar 199-24 (.892) record.
Cooksey directed the Mids to the program's first sweep of the indoor and outdoor Patriot League titles in 2007-08. For his efforts, Cooksey garnered the league's coach-of-the-year accolades during both seasons and was named USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Indoor Coach of the Year during both the indoor and outdoor season.
The Midshipmen have won four Patriot League Indoor Championships (2004, 2005, 2008, 2011) in recent years with Cooksey at the helm. Additionally, Navy won the Heptagonal outdoor competition three-straight years from 1991-93 and posted back-to-back wins in the Heptagonal indoor championship in 1992 and `93. The team also captured the Colonial Athletic Association outdoor crown during the 1991 season.
Cooksey's success has also carried over into Navy's Star Meet competitions against archrival Army, where his teams own a 28-20 career mark against the Black Knights. Over the last 14 years, the Mids have won 20-of-30 dual meet competitions against Army, including eight indoor and outdoor season sweeps.
Navy swept Army in the indoor and outdoor Star Meets during the 2011-12 season. Navy defeated the Black Knights, 98-83, in Annapolis during the indoor season and bested the Black Knights, 102.5-100.5 during the outdoor season. Navy was also the team runner-up during both the indoor and outdoor seasons at the Patriot League Championship.
Cooksey, who oversees Navy's pole vaulters, helped guide freshman Mark Vetere to both the indoor and outdoor Patriot League title in the event and he earned rookie-of-the-meet honors at both championship meets. Vetere was also a two-time IC4A All-East honoree and qualified for the NCAA's East Regional Championship.
In total in 2012, Navy sent five athletes to the NCAA's East Regional Championship, with Duncavage, who would go on to place 16th at the NCAA Championship, faring the best with a seventh-place finish.
Cooksey was named the Patriot League Indoor Coach of the Year during the 2010-11 season after leading Navy to the indoor team title. The Mids trailed Army by 32 team points with four events remaining (pole vault, 3,000, distance medley relay, 4x400 relay) in the championship. The Mids won the pole vault and the 3,000 and picked up huge points, outscoring Army 30-0 in the two events to enter the final two relays down just 2 points. Navy then won the DMR and Army placed second to set up the final event, the 4x400, which Navy won to take the team crown in a dramatic finish.
Cooksey came to Annapolis in 1984 and assisted Al Cantello with both the cross country and the track & field teams at Navy for four seasons before taking over the reins of Navy's track program.
Before coming to Navy, Cooksey spent six years as the head cross country and track & field coach at Ball State, where he began as an assistant in 1974. He was acting head cross country coach for the Cardinals in the 1978-79 season and became the head coach of the cross country and track & field teams in 1979.
During his time at Ball State, Cooksey worked with 18 NCAA qualifiers, three All-Americans and an NCAA champion.
In 1998, he was named the head coach for the United States World Junior Championship team and has served as a coach on several other U.S. National teams. Most recently, Cooksey served as the head coach of the 2008 U.S. World Indoor Championship team.
An associate professor in the physical education department at the Academy, Cooksey was named the recipient of the 2003 Superintendent's Distinguished Athletic Leadership Award for teaching and coaching.
His road to becoming one of the top collegiate track coaches began in Terre Haute, Ind., where he was a nationally-ranked high-jumper, two-time captain and team MVP for the Indiana State track program.
Cooksey enjoyed a decorated athletic career for the Sycamores, collecting an impressive list of individual accolades, including NCAA All-America and U.S. Track & Field Federation All-America honors.
Cooksey and his wife, Valerie, have one daughter, Brooke, and reside in Annapolis, Md.
The Cooksey File
Guided 12 athletes to a total of 19 All-America honors during his Navy tenure.
Led Mids to 11 league titles, including program's first sweep of the Patriot League crowns in 2007-08.
2007-08 Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
Six-time Patriot League Coach of the Year