Cochrane led Har­ri­son to championships

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - RICK FIRES

Tommy Tice pro­duced plenty of win­ning teams in 46 years as a head coach, in­clud­ing con­sec­u­tive con­fer­ence championships at Har­ri­son in 1988 and 1989.

Those teams were led by quar­ter­back Kelly Cochrane, who guided the Goblins to a com­bined record of 20-4-1 as a junior and se­nior.

“(Cochrane) had all the qual­i­ties you could de­sire in a quar­ter­back — size,

strength, char­ac­ter, and lead­er­ship,” Tice said. “When he stepped into the hud­dle, he was in com­mand. Like all of the great ones, when the game was on the line, he wanted the ball in his hands. Sim­ply, he was the great­est to ever play the po­si­tion of quar­ter­back at Har­ri­son High School and there have been many good ones.”

Har­ri­son was 11-0 in 1989 when it faced Pine Bluff Dol­lar­way in the sec­ond round of the Class 3A state play­offs. Har­ri­son whipped Wynne 31-7 in a firstround game but lost its top run­ning back to a knee in­jury in the process. That forced Har­ri­son to air it out when most

teams were heav­ily run-ori­ented, and the Goblins fell 2611 to a Dol­lar­way pro­gram that was dom­i­nant in the 1980s and ’90s.

“We threw it about 40 or 50 times that game, which was un­heard of back then,” said Cochrane, who was named to the As­so­ci­ated Press Su­per Team for Arkansas in 1989. “We lost the game, but I truly be­lieve we were the sec­ond best team to Dol­lar­way that year.”

Cochrane was a backup quar­ter­back at Ole Miss then played his fi­nal two years at Arkansas Tech af­ter coach Red Parker was fired by the Rebels. He helped lead Arkansas Tech from a 1-9 sea­son to a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship as a se­nior.

“I loved Ole Miss,” Cochrane said. “But coach Parker got fired and they brought in a coach who ran the trap op­tion. I was too slow for that of­fense and that put me down on the depth chart. I didn’t see much of a fu­ture there, so I trans­ferred to Arkansas Tech.”

Cochrane, 45, lives in Rogers and works for Tyson Foods, where he is the fa­cil­ity man­ager for the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Rogers.

“Ath­let­ics af­forded me to go to col­lege. I never paid a dime for col­lege,” said Cochrane, who grad­u­ated from Arkansas Tech with a de­gree in agri­cul­ture-busi­ness. “Be­ing in­volved in ath­let­ics teaches you dis­ci­pline and in be­ing on time and de­vel­op­ing team­work. I had a great ex­pe­ri­ence at Arkansas Tech and with Ole Miss in the SEC, which is big-time foot­ball.”

NWA Demo­crat Gazette/SPENCER TIREY

Kelly Cochrane, a for­mer quar­ter­back at Har­ri­son, works as the fa­cil­ity man­ager for the Tyson Foods dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Rogers.

Cour­tesy photo

Kelly Cochrane played quar­ter­back at Ole Miss and Arkansas Tech af­ter lead­ing Har­ri­son to con­fer­ence championships in high school.

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