Shanna Cook will begin her fourth season as an assistant coach on the Columbia University women's basketball staff in 2012-13. A veteran of collegiate coaching for 16 years, Cook had been an assistant at Tulane University for three years prior to arriving on Morningside Heights, and has made previous stops at Samford University and at her alma mater, the University of New Orleans.
"Shanna Cook brings all the qualities we were looking for in an assistant coach to help our program take the next step to the Championship level," Nixon says. "Her credentials in the areas of recruiting and player development speak for themselves, but of equal importance is her proven ability to build positive relationships with everyone associated with her former programs. Coach Cook's passion for the game is contagious, and I can't wait to introduce her to our student-athletes and the entire Columbia basketball community."
Cook developed a plethora of young guards during the 2011-12 season, including Ivy League All-Rookie Team member Brianna Orlich '14CC. Orlich led the Lions with 78 assists, ranked second with 43 steals and third in scoring at 9.3 points per game while starting 26 contests.
In her first year at Columbia, Cook worked primarily with the guards and helped a pair of Lions to career years. Melissa Shafer '12CC led the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage at 44.3 percent while Kathleen Barry '11CC boosted her three-point shooting by nearly 16 percent to 40.9 percent. As a team, Columbia bumped their long-range shooting up by four percent as a team and its highest since 2002-03.
While at Tulane, Cook helped lead the Green Wave to three straight winning seasons, including a 26-7 record in 2006-07 and a trip to the second round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Cook assisted in all facets of recruiting, practice schemes and game-plan implementation for the team, and was an integral part of the recruitment of 2008-09 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Indira Kaljo.
Prior to her stint at Tulane, Cook spent two years at Samford in Birmingham, Ala. While there, she helped the Bulldogs set a then-school record with 21 wins in 2005-06. Samford posted its best conference finish that season, going 15-5 to place third in the Ohio Valley Conference and just one game back of a three-way co-championship.
Cook began her coaching career at her alma mater in 1996. During her time on the UNO bench, the Privateers won a combined 99 games, posted a pair of winning seasons and finished as high as third in the Sun Belt West Division in 2000-01.
"I am very excited about the opportunity that has been given to me to work for such a prestigious University located in the amazing City of New York," Cook says. "I am looking forward to working very closely with my friend, Coach Nixon, and the Columbia athletics department to continue the climb that the women's basketball program is making toward an Ivy League championship."
A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at New Orleans, Cook played in 114 games during her college career, averaging 9.2 points and 2.7 rebounds a game while dishing out 341 assists. Cook set UNO records for 3-pointers in a game (eight), season (91) and career (187). She also ranks among the all-time leaders in 3-point field goal percentage (.341), minutes (3,116) and steals (173).
As a junior, she led the Sun Belt Conference with a 5.0 assist-per-game average and topped the league in three-point field goal percentage her final two seasons. In her senior year, she ranked third in the nation in three-point shooting, and was selected to compete in the 1995 Women's 3-Point Shooting Championship in Seattle, Wash., during the week of the NCAA Men's Final Four.
A native of Canaan, Ind., Cook originally came to New Orleans in the fall of 1991 following a stellar career at Madison Consolidated High, where she was a third-team all-state selection as a senior after averaging 19.2 points per game, and was an honorable-mention all-state selection following her sophomore and junior seasons. She also played on a pair of state champion AAU squads.
Cook completed her bachelor's degree in sports management from UNO in 1996 and earned a master's of education degree in 2000.