One of the finest in a long line of multi-sport standouts at Hampden-Sydney, Gene Cooke, a speedy 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, earned eight letters in baseball and football while at the College.
In four years as a baseball standout for the Tigers, Cooke never finished the season with a batting average below .380. His highest single-season average of .464 still stands as the best single-season average in school history. He was a key member of three successive Mason-Dixon Conference championship teams for the Tigers. As a senior in 1958, he served as team co-captain with H-SC Hall of Famer Bobby Humphreys.
Having his choice of several offers, he signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958. Newspapers reported a bonus of $20,000. He started out in the state of Washington, playing for a Class B team.
Also an outstanding football player for the Tigers, Cooke played tackle for four seasons and was a member of H-SC's 1956 and 1957 Mason Dixon Championship teams. He was an honorable mention All-Little Eight selection as a junior and a first team selection as a senior.
Cooke retired from Gravure Packaging Incorporated after having served as its President and CEO. He and his wife, Mary Jane, have two children and reside in Midlothian, VA.