By Hannah Bateman
A 1995 economics major, who played football while attending Mississippi State University, returned for a football game in 2012. Except for this game, Greg Cooke was not on the field; he was in the air. Cooke, a U.S. naval officer, pilot and commander, performed the flyover at the MSU v. Texas A&M game.
After graduation from MSU, Cooke joined the U.S. Navy. He is currently the commanding officer of the naval operational support center in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he is responsible for the entire Naval Reserve Force in the state. His greatest success is landing on seven different aircraft carriers and commanding U.S. Navy sailors around the globe.
Although his successes took him around the world, one of his greatest accomplishments took place while he was a student at MSU. In 1991 Cooke became a varsity football letterman. “I remember the day I received my Mississippi State football letterman jacket. I was so proud; I don't think I took it off for a least a week. For the first year, I think I probably put it on anytime the temperature got below 80 [degrees],” states Cooke. Along with receiving his letterman jacket, Cooke still has many fond memories of being a student athlete playing under former Coach Jackie Sherrill including the game they won over the University of Texas.
Receiving his letterman jacket was one of Cooke’s most prideful moments, but his time living on campus in the freshman dorm, athletic dorm and fraternity house all contribute to the fond memories he made during his time as a student. Cooke was an active member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and was a U.S. Congressional intern during the summer after his junior year.
Cooke said that MSU helped him learn to be self-efficient. When offering advice to students, he says, “Take advantage of every opportunity afforded you. Pick something that is fulfilling and most importantly fun!”
Cooke’s favorite MSU tradition is Super Bulldog Weekend. In his spare time he enjoys flying, tennis and watching MSU football.
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