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Ready, set, broadcast
TCC alum tackles sports career

Joe Cook grew up playing football and basketball, but a sports career didn’t enter his mind until one Sunday dinner after church. As usual, the NFL pregame droned in the background, prompting his mother to stop to listen to analyst James Brown.

“I could see you doing that,” she said to her high school son.

“Doing what?” Cook asked.

“Sports on TV.”

Why not?  he asked himself. A playing career seemed like a long shot at best. “The next best thing to being on the court is being around it,” Cook says.

Cook’s sports broadcasting and production career is flourishing, and Tidewater Community College is the springboard for much of his success. Ranked seventh in his graduating class at I.C. Norcom High School, Cook  explored college options that ranged from High Point to East Carolina to Virginia Wesleyan. Then Cook started doing the calculations.

“I was going to owe $48,000 at the end of four years,” he says. “TCC offered me a full ride.”

The offer was too good to turn down, and five years after graduating, Cook has no regrets. After receiving his associate degree in General Studies, he transferred to Norfolk State University more prepared than he ever dreamed.

“TCC can do a lot for people,” he says. “What it did for me was serve as a buffer from high school to college. I got a taste of the college life, but I didn’t have all the social distractions.”

The other benefits were substantial, too. The Introduction to Public Speaking class he took proved to be excellent training for the broadcasting he would later do for NSU’s radio station, 91.1. He started for the TCC Storm his first year, and was co-captain of the basketball team his second year. And his involvement with the Student Government Association developed his organizational and leadership skills. Cook served as the sports liaison between student government and the athletic programs at TCC.

“TCC was a great building block that helped me achieve even more at Norfolk State,” says Cook, president of the National Broadcasting Society at NSU his senior year. “I learned time management skills and how to implement ideas and set goals.”

Since graduation, Cook has found success in a multitude of avenues. He was the video producer for the UFL’s Virginia Destroyers last fall. He founded his own website, thespotva.com, which features several sports videos, including some on the Storm. He shoots and edits videos for two local companies and is a regular sports broadcaster for NSU radio. Cook provided color commentary when  NSU, a 15 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, upset No. 2 Missouri in the first round – a great chance to be “part of history,” he says.

“I have a lot of perspective about my time at TCC,” Cook says. “I was able to avoid two years of debt. I was able to have the opportunity to play basketball post high school. I had no problems transferring my credits to NSU. I take pride in TCC. I still have my hoodie sweatshirt with my name on the back. I have two alma maters, and TCC will always be one of them.”

For more information about the TCC Alumni Association, visit tidewateralumni.org.