ERIE, Colo. — Gail Hook must have felt a lot like Al Pacino’s character in The Godfather Part III. Just when she thought she had retired from coaching, the game of basketball pulled her back in.
Hook spent 27 years traversing the world of Colorado high school basketball. She also coached with Team USA, Purdue University and in the WNBA.
Now, she’s onto one of the greatest challenges in her long an illustrious career – coaching teen boys.
Hook is entering her first season as the head coach of the boys basketball team at Erie High School.
"I just thought it was a whole different challenge for myself, even though I know coaching is basically coaching,” she said. “I thought, for my last hurrah – I don't know how much longer I'm going to be doing this – I thought why not?"
Some may call her a hesitant trailblazer; but she appreciates her new platform, and the opportunity to create change.
“I didn’t primarily take this position for that reason," Hook said. “There are so many great women coaches out there. I'm hoping that it will open up some doors for other athletic directors to seek out women in these positions or for other women to say, 'Hey, I want to do that too.'"
She's having no trouble connecting to her new team, even if her coaching style is more traditional.
"It's old school for sure,” said Kevin Loy, a junior shooting guard at Erie. “She knows what she's talking about and she knows what she's doing. Even if it's old school, it's going to work."
"She's different from the rest of the coaches,” said senior point guard Myles Meskers. “She's been around the game of basketball for a while now and she definitely knows what she's talking about."
So, what does Coach Hook think about a female head coach in the NBA?
“I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier,” she said.
She’s moving Erie in the right direction and promoting basketball progress too. But at the heart of Hook is a love for coaching.
"It's really fun,” she said. “You’ve got to laugh. You’ve got to have fun while you're doing it. I think that's what's kept me in it for so long."