By Greg Gulas
Former Youngstown State University football player and conditioning coach Mike Cochran is the first to admit that he had to leave home in order to return home.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly luncheon meeting at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, Cochran praised the cutting edge ideas of YSU’s former head trainer and strength and conditioning coach, Dan Wathen.
Cochran said he hopes that he can add to the many ideas that he was a part of during his time as an assistant on Wathen’s staff in the decade of the 90’s.
“It was a lot of fun to be a part of the many successes that our teams enjoyed throughout the ‘90s,” Cochran said. “To be able to work with Dan back then and learn under one of the most knowledgeable strength coaches nationally was a very rewarding experience.
“It was then and only then that I was able to take those ideas with me to my next three stops,” Cochran said. “Hopefully, I can now bring back to YSU some new and interesting training concepts to which I have been exposed.”
Cochran was assistant strength and conditioning coach for football at Ohio State from 2001-05.
He later served as the head strength and conditioning coach for all sports at Marshall University (2005-09) and the University of Akron (2009-10).
Those stops have yielded new knowledge that he plans to implement at YSU.
“During my time at Ohio State, I saw what was necessary and the commitment that it took in order to achieve at the college game’s highest level,” Cochran said.
“That experience helped to prepare me for my stints at both Marshall and Akron, knowing full well what it took to make sure that all sports, both men’s and women’s, were taken care of properly,” Cochran said.
Cochran, who resumed his duties with the Penguins’ athletic department on Jan. 31, is excited about working with the football program and most especially with second-year head coach Eric Wolford.
Ron Strollo, YSU athletic director, said bringing back someone who understands the program and tradition was critical.
“Mike [Cochran] was a member of Coach Tressel’s first recruiting class so he understands and realizes the commitment and dedication that is necessary in order to win.
“We’re just excited to have him back this spring and have him around the program as we anxiously anticipate the start of coach [Eric] Wolford’s second football season.
“We’re committed to doing what it takes, both on and off the field, to win championships in all sports and Mike Cochran is a big piece of that puzzle,” Strollo said.