The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

March 18, 2013

Cochran retires as OHS head wrestling coach

OTTUMWA — It had been seven years since Kevin Cochran had donned his suit for the final night of the state wrestling meet.

In the back of his mind, he knew he might be putting on that suit for the final time on that stage.

Cochran officially announced a decision he had been considering for several weeks. The Ottumwa High School head wrestling coach stepped down after five years, a move that will allow Cochran to spend more time with his two children.

“Life is too short to miss out on these experiences,” Cochran said. “There are a lot of things you miss out on when your the head coach of a wrestling program. A lot of activities my kids are involved in. I don’t want to miss out on those things. I want to be there as their dad.”

Cochran has spent the last 17 years coaching wrestling, 11 years as a head coach and his last five years in Ottumwa. Prior to coming to Wapello County, Cochran oversaw the rise of another southeast Iowa program in Centerville and the production of one of the great prep careers in state history in four-time state champion T.J. Sebolt.

Prior to this season, Cochran hadn’t coached a state champ since leading Sebolt to his fourth title and Nick Pickrell to his second straight crown in 2006. Bulldog senior Karsten Van Velsor allowed Cochran to go out on the stage of the state wrestling finals, upsetting top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock grappler Andrew Steiert and fourth-ranked Trey Blaha of Cedar Rapids Prairie to get to the 138-pound title match.

“The coaching staff and I always believed in Karsten,” Cochran said. “As a senior, he really stepped up for the entire team and was our leader the entire season.”

He also wrestled in high school and some in college.

Cochran, who has also been an educator for five years, has spent much more then the last 17 years involved with wrestling. A grappler himself in high school and college, the passion for the sport led Cochran back to teaching the sport on the mat while also using that passion to teach students in the classroom.

“Once it’s in your blood, it never comes out,” Cochran said of wrestling. “Becoming a teacher, though, was the best career change I could have made.”

After recently completing his administrative degree, Cochran is hoping to pursue an educational leadership role off the mats. Since taking over the Bulldog wrestling program that was struggling with a lack of numbers and victories, Cochran has helped build a foundation of success little by little culminating with the Bulldogs most successful overall season on the mat in Cochran’s five seasons.

Ottumwa finished with an 11-11 dual record this season, more wins than the previous four seasons had produced combined. VanVelsor and Kevin Childs, who improved from just two wins as a junior to a 29-win senior season, gave the Bulldogs multiple state qualifiers just a year after Ottumwa was shut out from the Class 3A state meet.

“I’ve worked with some quality assistant coaches at the high school and middle school and have seen more stability in the youth program,” Cochran said. “Ottumwa must continue to grow to compete at the state and CIML level.”

While Cochran is stepping away from the head coaching duties of the Ottumwa wrestling program, he does plan on continuing to stay involved in the program as his schedule allows serving as a volunteer to assist as needed.

“Coaching in Ottumwa has been a good experience,” Cochran said. “There has been growth in the program and growth in the athletes. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Little League Baseball and Softball Tournaments 9/10-Year-Old Iowa State Little League Baseball Tournament (At Boone National Little League Fields) Standings W L Runs Allowed Grandview 2 0 7 Urbandale 2 0 11 Davenport Northwest 1 0 7 Ottumwa Mi

    July 22, 2014

  • State Softball Tournament Monday Class 4A Quarterfinals No. 4 Carlisle 7, No. 13 Oskaloosa 2 Tuesday Class 2A Quarterfinals No. 5 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (24-5) vs. No. 15 Alburnett (26-12), 3:30 p.m. (96.7 FM KIIC, 104.9 FM KBOE)

    July 22, 2014

  • Area Prep Baseball Scores Saturday Class 2A, District 13 Finals Albia 6, Davis County 0 Class 1A, District 10 Finals Burlington-Notre Dame 7, No. 3 Van Buren 6 Class 1A, District 11 Finals North Mahaska 5, Pekin 0 Class 1A, District 12 Finals No. 1 Twin Cedars 2, Pleasantvill

    July 22, 2014

  • 2014 Iowa High School State Softball Tournament Monday, July 21 Class 3A Quarterfinals No. 2 East Marshall 4, Mid-Prairie 3 No. 9 Bondurant-Farrar 9, No. 13 West Burlington/Notre Dame 4 No. 3 Clarke 13, Spirit Lake 0 (3) Greene County 2, No. 6 Center Point-Urbana 0 Class 4A Quarterfinals No. 1 Dal

    July 21, 2014

  • Fifth-ranked Trojans walk off with district title FAIRFIELD — Kooper Dahlstrom’s sharp ground ball to short got past the Oskaloosa defense, allowing Mason Ellis to score his third run of the night as the fifth-ranked Fairfield baseball team survived a wild Class 3A, District 11 final on Monday, 5-4,

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 OTT Sports Oskaloosa softball photo Carlisle spoils Osky's state softball debut FORT DODGE – Gabby Schnathorst threw a six-hitter in the pitching circle and Shyanne DuBois drove in three runs as fourth-ranked Carlisle, the Class 4A State Softball runner-up last year, spoiled the state tournament debut for the 13th-ranked Oskaloo

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ottumwa Midwest beats Mahaska Co. at Little League State Tourney BOONE — The Ottumwa Midwest Allstars and Mahaska County American little league baseball teams exchanged the lead five times on Sunday, but Ottumwa ended up on top with a 7-6 win in six innings at the 9-10 Year-Old Little League State Baseball Tournam

    July 21, 2014

  • Grandview, Johnston jump to 2-0 start CENTERVILLE — Grandview and Johnston American are the only teams left undefeated after two days of the Iowa Little League State Baseball Tournament are in the books. Johnston American began the tournament with a 5-4 win over Appanoose County and beat

    July 21, 2014

  • Monroe County Little League softball gets first regional win INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA — Three first-inning runs helped the Monroe County Softball Little League team earn its first victory in Central Region play on Monday as the southern Iowa squad won 5-3 over Nebraska's Keystone Little League at Ferguson Field o

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 OTT Sports Ashlyn Thompson mug Bulldogs named to all-district team

    OTTUMWA — A plethora of softball players in the area were named to Iowa Girls Coaches Association's All-District teams. Ashlyn Thompson and Kassidi Henderson were both named to the Class 5A West All-District team. Thompson had an exemplary season sta

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

Sports photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook