Hall of Fame – 2000
John is one of those rare individuals who has practically “done it all” in regard to wrestling. He started the program in Harrisburg (Banner County School) in 1963. He was at Bertrand and Albion and is now involved with the Dennison , IA Middle School program . When you get bit by the bug , the effects last a long time! In addition to his coaching duties he has officiated the sport at the local and state level. Add to this the fact that he has been principal, activities director, and football coach and you see before you a man with a well-rounded background. Gaining his knowledge of wrestling by reading books, taking wrestlers to summer camps, attending coaching clinics, and learning from other coaches and wrestlers his motto could be “Once a wrestling fan, always a wrestling fan.” He was given the District 7 award for Outstanding Contribution to USWF Wrestling Program – Kids and Junior Divisions in 1982. Unable to fill all weight classes at Harrisburg his teams competed only in tournaments. He has had 10 tournament champions, 4 district championships, 82 state qualifiers and 37 state medal winners, 13 of them State Champ medals. His teams at Banner Country finished 3rd at State in ‘67 and ‘68 and the Albion team took 3rd in ‘72, 1/2 point from second. John biggest thrill in wrestling has been the fact that he was a part of the state record 66 dual wins in a row in Class B at Albion High School. He also enjoyed the opportunity to work with the wrestlers and their parents, and the tremendous support for the wrestling programs in the various communties in which he has coached. He has been able to attend every Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament since 1963, missing only two times. In the words of Bob Eisenbraun, AD at Dennison, IA High School, Mr. Cookson “has been one of the middle school wrestling coaches and has been a tireless volunteer for our high school program since 1994 helping at the clock at our home duals and tournaments. Volunteers with Mr. Cookson’s knowledge and experience are few and far between and , naturally we feel very honored to have John in our community.” John is introduced by his friend and former AD at Albion, Bilse Robinson.