Tom Cocke, Loris Recreation Director, submitted his resignation on Tuesday. Feb. 11. The city council voted to accept the resignation which is effective on Tuesday, March 24.
After nearly two years leading the recreation programs in a positive way and creating Sportourism to generate more revenue to the city of Loris Cocke has accepted a leadership position at the University of Virginia’s Intramural and Recreation Sports Department.
He will continue to lead the recreation department into a direction to have baseball and softball tournaments. Two dates are set for tournaments, Saturday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. with 20 teams scheduled to play. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, at 9 a.m. with baseball and softball tournaments. Teams are traveling to Loris from North Carolina, Georgia and parts of South Carolina to participate in the tournaments.
Cocke said in his letter of resignation, “This was a decision that I did not make in haste; it was actually one that was very emotional for me.” He states he has built a rapport with the children who participate in the sports offered by the recreation department. “I have seen tremendous growth in the department with numerous programs being reenergized and the successful development of our children on and off the field,” said Cocke. “My goal was to provide the best possible array of programs for our recreation family.”
Loris Councilwoman Jan Vescovi, who chairs the recreation committee, said, “UVA’s gain will be a loss for Loris. Tom has been an unbelievable asset to the city and community.” She continued, “When he accepted the position at Loris, he listened to the vision I had to offer a Sportourism Program and he made it a reality.” She stated that Cocke has led the recreation department with honesty and integrity and under his leadership Loris has seen growth in numbers and stronger programs. Vescovi said, “Most importantly, he built positive relationships with the youth and the community. I truly hate to see him go, but I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Cocke said, “I am grateful to the current and former city council members and the city staff for giving me the opportunity as well as their continued support to try new things.” He stated the community support has been an amazing experience. He thanked the many departments and heads of departments for their support and assistance making the improvements to the fields and to the recreation area in general. He stated that success means measurable improvements in the community the recreation department serves, setting high standards individually and for the programs is critical for the success of the department.
Cocke said, “As I look back at my time here in the city of Loris, I will leave with a treasure chest full of great memories and moments that I will hold near and dear to my heart forever.” He continued, “Our city will always have a special place in my life and my time here is one that I will relish forever.”
He stated he will miss the families that he has come to know from season to season, but said he will miss the daily visits from the children before practice or a game. He said, “I will miss the high-fives from every kid or the calls of “Mr. Tom” from the kids around the Loris Sports Complex.” He said he will also miss the packed fields every night for the league games and the laughter of the children during practice.
Cocke said, “It truly has been an honor to work for this city and I had such a great time coming to work each and every day.” He will be at the department a little over 30 days and has invited the kids to stop by to say hello (or goodbye) to give him one last high-five.
Mayor Todd Harrelson stated he is disappointed to see Cocke leave Loris, however, wishes him the best for his future career in which he has great ideas and potential for making dreams come true.
The open position of the Loris Recreation Department Director will be posted by the city in hopes to have a replacement hired while Cocke is able to assist in training the new city employee.