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Philadelphia Union organization loses another coach

Jeff Cook, who coached the Philadelphia Union U19s and was an assistant for Bethlehem Steel FC, was announced as the new Penn State head coach on Tuesday

Nate Szwerdszarf

After losing two coaches from the first team technical staff, the Philadelphia Union organization is saying goodbye to another coach from the academy and USL ranks with Jeff Cook being named the new head coach at Penn State.

Cook coached in the Philadelphia Union Academy for five years, most recently as the U19 head coach and served as an assistant with Bethlehem Steel FC. He even took a turn in the broadcast booth for the live stream of a U.S. Open Cup match against New York Red Bulls in 2016.

“Penn State is regarded as one of this country's most iconic institutions for its combination of outstanding academics and athletics,” Cook said in a news release. “It's an honor for me to become a member of the Nittany Lion family.”

Cook already has a track record in Division 1 college soccer. Prior to joining the Union organization he was the head coach at Dartmouth for 13 seasons, leading the Big Green to five Ivy League titles and seven NCAA berths. He was at the University of Cincinnati for five seasons and Division III Wheaton in Illinois for three seasons while also making stops as an assistant at UMass and Dartmouth.

“We are very happy for Jeff,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “He has worked tirelessly to help us get the Steel off the ground over the last two years and we thank him for that. We hope that he enjoys a long run of success at Penn State and we are confident that he will."

Cook becomes the 12th head coach of a Nittany Lion program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2014. Bob Warming announced his retirement after a disappointing 5-10-2 season in 2017. The legendary college coach was at the helm in Happy Valley for eight years, capturing the Big Ten coach of the year in 2012 and 2013.

Cook’s departure is the latest in a string of off-season coaching moves within the Union organization. First team assistant Mike Sorber and goalkeeper coach Oka Nikolov both took jobs in Los Angeles with Sorber joining Bob Bradley’s staff at Los Angeles FC and Nikolov taking a job with the LA Galaxy.

A Massachusetts native, Cook joins new Temple head coach Brian Rowland as new hires taking over two of the biggest men’s soccer programs in the state in 2018.