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Former Monarch girls basketball coach Gail Hook recently was named the winner of the 2015 Pathfinder Award.
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Former Monarch girls basketball coach Gail Hook recently was named the winner of the 2015 Pathfinder Award.

Gail Hook might be retired and no longer on this side of the country. But that hasn’t prevented the former Monarch girls basketball coach from wrangling in another award.

The venerable Hook, who was at Monarch as a coach and teacher since its inception in 1998, and is a prominent ambassador for the sport and women’s athletics in general, recently was named the winner of the 2015 Pathfinder Award.

The award, presented by the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Colorado, signifies Hook’s efforts in cultivating the growth of opportunities for girls and women in sport and officiating.

“I was really honored to receive that award,” Hook said by phone moments before heading to the beach in her new locale of Dunedin, Fla. “I’m basically doing what I’ve always wanted to do, and that’s passing along the concepts I’ve learned from the really strong female coaches in my past, who were always big advocates for women and opportunities.”

After guiding Monarch to the Class 5A semifinals and a 24-3 record last season, Hook made the difficult decision to retire. She said she wavered back and forth and understood there would never be a perfect time to step away.

She is renting a home in Dunedin, which she says “feels like old-time Louisville . . . with a beach.” She hasn’t decided whether she’ll remain on the west peninsula long-term or move on, and is “just seeing where life takes me.”

Hook will continue to monitor Monarch basketball from afar and still deeply cares for the players in the program. The feeling appears to be mutual.

“In my opinion, there is no other coach that would be more qualified to receive this award than coach Hook,” Coyotes junior guard Peyton Carter said. “Off the court she is a kind, loving, and selfless person who always puts our needs before hers. I learned many things in the two years I spent being coached by her.”

Carter said that she not only grew as a player under Hook’s tutelage, but also as a person and as a leader.

“She was an amazing coach with tons of knowledge and wisdom to teach her players because of how much experience she has,” Carter said. “I will never be able to thank her enough for how much she helped me grow as a player on and off the court.”

Hook hasn’t closed the door on returning to coaching. Her lengthy coaching resume also includes a state title at Centaurus in 1991 and stints with Purdue, USA Basketball and the ABL and WNBA. As a player, she was part of Maryland’s 1978 runner-up squad and also played for CU and USA basketball.

“I don’t ever think you can fully shut the door,” Hook said. “But for now I’m just enjoying free time, which I haven’t had in awhile.”

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