Durham legend Geoff Cook ends 27-year career

Geoff Cook with the County Championship trophy Getty Images

Geoff Cook, Durham's long-standing director of cricket, is to step down from his role at the end of the season as part of a staff restructure.

Cook's departure comes hot on the heels of the retirement of Paul Collingwood, the club's longest-serving player, who was one of a raft of names whom Cook was instrumental in developing in his 27 years of service.

After a 19-year county career with Northamptonshire, Cook returned to his native north-east in 1991 to help Durham make the transition to first-class cricket. He was appointed as Head Coach in 2007 and immediately guided the club to the Friends Provident Trophy, the first of a run of trophies that would include back-to-back Championship wins in 2008 and 2009.

In 2013, he was forced to take time away from the game after suffering a heart attack while out jogging, but returned to the club in time to take part in their title celebrations after they had wrapped up their third Championship win in six seasons.

Cook won seven Test caps as an opening batsman between 1982 and 1983. However, his greatest legacy is the number of outstanding players who have made their way through the county academy and, not only represented Durham, but gone on to become key players for England.

In addition to Collingwood, who made his Durham debut in 1995, Cook was responsible for nurturing the likes of Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Steve Harmison, Graham Onions and Mark Stoneman. Since the 2005 Ashes, only Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire - two of the most established clubs in the country - have produced more England players.

"It comes with a heavy heart that I am leaving my role as Director of Cricket at Durham County Cricket Club but I'm immensely proud of the work we have achieved during my 27-year stay," Cook said. "It's been a privilege to work at Durham for so long and the memories will be with me forever.

"From establishing ourselves as a first-class county to our back-to-back title wins in 2007 and 2008, and the Championship triumph in 2013 were, alongside many more, the highlights of my career.

"There are too many people to thank but I would like to show gratitude to all the players, staff, members and supporters I have worked with and of course my family and friends.

"Durham County Cricket Club is a great club and will continue to improve, I'd like to wish them the best of luck going forward."

DCCC Chairman Sir Ian Botham, added: "Geoff is a true legend of the club and his instrumental work has had an immeasurable impact on the success of Durham County Cricket Club.

"His efforts in establishing Durham as a first-class county and turning the team from newcomers to a title-winning force will never be forgotten alongside his superb coaching achievements."

"I would like to wish him the very best for the future."