BUTTE — Maury Cook sat in the newly-renovated library at East Middle School, where the walls are fittingly painted purple, and reflected on two decades of coaching experience.
He mostly hopes that he will be remembered as a coach who always put his players first.
"I just hope that people know that we did what we always felt was best for these kids, that whatever role they had was what the program needed," said Cook, who is a counselor at East. "I hope that at some point in time something we taught is valuable to them in the future."
A high school coaching career that began when he was hired by Anaconda High in May 2003 came to a close this week when he retired from his position as the Butte High girls head coach.
"I'm getting older and at the end of my teaching career," Cook said. "Just seemed like a good time, seemed that the timing was right. You want to be able to go out on your own."
The story was first reported by ButteSports.com on Monday.
Cook's teams at Anaconda were consistently successful during his eight-year run there, earning seven-straight conference titles and winning back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 when the Copperheads were still a Class A program.
He stepped away from that job after the 2010-11 season and remained retired until he was hired by Butte High in July 2015.
Cook inherited a struggling team that had posted just two wins the previous season -- both against Class A opponents.
Success for Cook was harder to come by as the Bulldogs advanced to state just once during his tenure in 2019 where Butte was toppled in the first round by Helena as the Jamie Pickens-led Bengals surged through the tournament to complete a three-peat.
Following this season, where the Bulldogs again failed to make the state tournament, Cook realized that he doesn't have the same level of energy as when he first took over Butte's program. He feels it's time for someone else, one of his assistant coaches he hopes, to take over.
"You know a lot of people just don't understand that this is a year-round job," Cook said. "This doesn't happen for just three months out of the year. (This program) needs to have someone else take that mantle and give these girls what they need."
He believes that, whoever his successor is, they'll take over a team with a solid foundation and plenty of potential. The Bulldogs had eight juniors on their roster last season.
"We have a group of kids that we feel have a chance to do some really good things so when the next coach comes in there's not too much rebuilding," Cook said.