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Original South coach Cochran dies

April 08, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Doug Cochran, the first head football coach at South Hagerstown High School and a former Washington County supervisor of athletics, died Saturday morning. He was 83.

Cochran coached the Rebels varsity football team from 1957 through 1963. His most successful season came in 1962, when South went undefeated and won the Cumberland Valley Athletic League and Tri-State League championships.

"I would not be here today teaching and coaching without his guidance," said Rebels baseball coach Ralph Stottlemyer, who as a student at South played for Cochran on the football team. "He was one of the most influential people in my life to guide me in the direction I'm at right now. He taught you to be a man and to guide young men and be very truthful."

"He just was a wonderful person, a wonderful father and a wonderful man," said Bill Maletzky, an assistant coach under Cochran. "He really had the welfare of all the players on his mind at all times."

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Maletzky, who went on to become the head coach at South from 1964 through 1974, said he learned patience from Cochran.

"Things couldn't be done all at once, and he taught me we had to be patient, that things would turn around and that if we worked hard enough, we could win," Maletzky said.

Cochran became the Washington County supervisor of physical education, health education, driver's education and athletics in 1967 and held the job for 20 years before handing the reins to Eugene "Yogi" Martin in 1987.

"He was just an outstanding person," Martin said. "An outstanding people person. I know he was a coach and he loved to work with the kids, and as a result he left the supervisor's role in the county in excellent position. When I stepped in, it was an easy transition because of the work he had done.

"I would like to think that in following him, I carried the program he had established forward. It wasn't like I developed anything new. I like to think of it as our program, not my program."

Martin said he tried to follow Cochran's lead when it came to making appearances across the county.

"He attended lots of athletic events and I attempted to do the same thing," Martin said. "He spent lots of time in the school and in the classroom with the teachers, and not in the office at the Board of Education, and that's what I wanted to do as well. We wanted to support the coaches and the principals and get out to the teachers and work with them in trying to support the program that way."

Cochran, born in Big Stone Gap, Va., played football for three years at Emory & Henry College in Virginia, which inducted him into its Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

He started his coaching career at Pound High School in Virginia before becoming the football coach and athletic director at Clarke County (Va.) High School in 1951. He came to South Hagerstown in 1957.

In addition to being honored by Emory & Henry College, Cochran has been inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame and the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame.

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