Allatoona coach Keith Hansen, who played for Cochran at North Cobb, was in middle school when Cochran arrived at North Cobb in 1971, and he remembers clearing rocks and other debris so Cochran could build the field where the Warriors currently play baseball.
Now, in addition to his name gracing the field he coached at for 31 years, Cochran’s No. 40 will forever be stamped on the right-field wall. Cochran’s number was retired prior to North Cobb’s 4-1 win over Allatoona in a non-region game Friday.
“It was very kind of (coach) Tom (Callahan) and North Cobb to do that,” Cochran said. “They went further out of their way than they should have. I’m really appreciative. It’s the first time I’ve been back here in eight years. I’m humbled. That’s all I can say.”
Callahan, who was an assistant under Cochran before becoming North Cobb’s coach in 2007, said that retiring his mentor’s number was overdue. With Cochran now on Hansen’s staff at Allatoona as an assistant, after a four-year stay as Mount Paran Christian’s head coach, the “perfect opportunity” presented itself Friday.
Known by former players for his “do-right” rule, Cochran posted 571 wins in a North Cobb jersey and won seven region championships. Before heading to North Atlanta following the 2005 season, he also guided the Warriors to nine region runner-up finishes and had just two losing seasons.
More than 80 players who played for Cochran at North Cobb went on to play college baseball.
“I’m am real conscious of the legacy that he left,” Callahan said. “I respect the fact that this is his house and I’m just the caretaker of it. Everything I’ve learned from him, I’ve put it into practice.”
Joined by his wife, Linda, and son, Kip — a North Cobb player from 1989-1992 — and other former Warriors, Cochran was presented a frame that encased two jerseys, the white home uniform and orange road uniform.
After Friday’s ceremony, North Cobb went on to beat Allatoona by scoring two runs in each of the first and third innings.
North Cobb pitcher Trevor Devine held Allatoona scoreless after the first inning, going the distance and giving up just three hits.
Devine got run support when Tyler Martin’s two-run double deep into center field gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. North Cobb’s third-inning runs came on an error and Billy Rose’s RBI single to short.
Allatoona’s lone run came when Clarke Schmidt led off the game with a single and scored on an error.