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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 as sports anchor of KTVF Channel 11 in Fairbanks, Alaska, 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 University to East Carolina University to Virginia Wesleyan College.

Then he 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 of Science 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 course 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 basketball team his first year, and was co-captain 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, who was president of the National Broadcasting Society at NSU his senior year. “I learned time management skills and how to implement ideas and set goals.”

Cook has worked in Fairbanks, Alaska, since 2012 as both sports anchor and reporter, covering a half dozen high school sports, Division II University of Alaska-Fairbanks, hockey and dog mushing.

“It’s been a great experience; I love doing what I want to do,” said Cook, who has weathered 45-below-zero temperatures at times. “The winters can wear on you when it gets dark early and you don’t see the sun until late the next day. But I have no regrets. I’ve learned a lot about myself here.”

TCC was the perfect springboard.

“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.”

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