Inducted March 5, 1988
Ed Cook was a stalwart on the last four great SMSU teams of the Andy McDonald coaching era as he lettered for the Bears four years between 1946 and 1950. The Bear guard was a native of Tulsa, gained MIAA all-conference recognition in the 1949 and 1950 seasons and was a Bears co-captain during the 1949-50 campaign. His play helped lead the Bears to MIAA titles in both 1949 and 1950 as the Bruins, one of the top defensive teams in the nation in those years, posted records of 24-2 in 1949 and 19-5 in 1950. The 1949 Bears were undefeated through their first 20 games of the season, the last unbeaten college team in the country that year, until a four-point loss at Cape Girardeau. The Bears then claimed the league and NAIA District 16 titles and advanced to the NAIA tournament in Kansas City where they defeated the University of Portland in the first round before being eliminated by Beloit College in the second game. SMSU also led the nation in team defense, allowing just 37 points a game. The following year, SMSU again claimed the loop crown but dropped two straight to Central Methodist in the district playoffs. The Bears, who finished second in Cook’s freshman and sophomore seasons, posted a four-year mark of 83-17 in his four-year stint. In a low-scoring era of college basketball, Cook was third, fourth and fifth on the team in scoring over his last three seasons and finished his career with 74 points for 81 games in an SMSU uniform. A fast pitch softball player and semi-pro baseball player for many years around his college days, he graduated with distinction in 1950 from SMSU and began a long and successful career as a high school teacher, coach and administrator, with 27 of his 30 years coming in the Aurora school system.