Bill Cochran and family leave long legacy with MCHS football • Alvin Richardson
I like to write happy but I’m struggling with it a little today so bear with me. You see we lost one of Morgan County’s foremost citizens when Bill Cochran Jr. recently passed away. Not only that but I lost a friend. It was a friendship that dates back over 40 years ago when we started our high school journey together. It was a passage from boyhood to manhood that established our bond and it lives on until today. We sweated out trigonometry, boasted (and found ways to compete) with our cars, and worried about whether or not the war in Vietnam was in our future. And that was just the beginning.
When I returned as football coach Bill was the Touchdown Club President during our two best years and together we celebrated our victories and tried to find ways to drown our sorrows following defeats. But no matter what happened Bill was always positive, upbeat and ready to roll up his sleeves and do whatever was needed to make things better for his beloved Morgan County Bulldogs.
Let’s consider Bill and his family’s legacy to our football program:
1. Bill’s dad, Bill Sr., was the Touchdown Club President in 1973-1974 and a long-time member of that organization
2. Bill Jr. played in the MCHS program from 1968-1971
3. Brother Ricky played from 1971-1974
4. Bill Jr. was the TD Club President in 1989-1990
5. Ricky was the TD Club President in 1991-1992
6. Bo (Bill Jr.’s son) played football from 2005-2008
7. Bill Jr. again pulled a stint as TD Club President from 2007-2008
8. Bill Jr. remained very active right through this past season in the club even after his son graduated and after he became ill
9. Bo is now a member of the Touchdown Club along with Uncle Ricky
Allow me to say here that being the Touchdown Club President is no basket of fruit. Rather it is long hours of planning and then sweating out the logistics of game day concessions. It is, to be honest, a headache. That never daunted Bill. The fact is I think he relished the challenge and he went about it as he did everything in his life – with a can do attitude that got things done efficiently and quietly.
Bill’s legacy included lots of other things. He was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department for 30 years – a job that carried heavy responsibilities of time and possible danger. He and his wife Jennifer raised two of the finest kids I’ve ever seen and somehow he also managed to become a successful businessman – first in his dad’s company and later as the best cabinet maker in North Georgia.
As if that wasn’t enough, he and his family initiated (in memory of Bill Sr.) the Bill Cochran Sr. Award in 1994 to be given to an MCHS football player each year. It was a camp scholarship given to a junior player who maintained a B average and showed strong leadership skills. That award is still given.
I could go on but suffice to say that Bill Cochran Jr. was an example of what we all should aspire to be. I will never forget his mischievous smile and that quick laugh that endeared him to everyone he came in contact with. That, along with his willingness to give of himself in every conceivable way made him the poster boy for unselfishness.
Head Football coach Bill Malone made a comment that was very telling to me. He said, “For the past six years Bill’s been there for me to lean on – especially during those back to back 1-9 seasons. He called me every night to give encouragement. I wouldn’t have made it without him.” That’s a good way to sum up Bill’s life – a guy who cared deeply for people and worked hard to promote and help programs and organizations that had real meaning. His wonderful legacy will live on and now that I’ve told you about it I can write happy again.
I’m just honored that he was my friend.
Printed in the June 7, 2012 edition