Cochren steps back on to the court

Mar. 20—Long before people knew Larry Cochren as a well-respected veteran athletic director, he was known as a high-level tennis player and coach.

So when Washington High School needed a girls' tennis coach this season, there once one person ready to step in.

Although it was been 22 years since the last time he coached tennis, as a former college player, coach and teaching pro, he was ready for the challenge.

Cochren, a player at Southridge High School in the early 1980s, moved on to collegiate tennis and a successful coaching career.

"I played at Vincennes University for two years and finished my college career at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. I got into the teaching pro business out there. And then a year after I graduated, the job opened up at my alma mater so I stayed there. I really enjoyed the college game and recruiting at that point. I was able to put a string of really good women's and men's teams together and coached a lot of young kids out of the club that ended up being pretty successful," said Cochren.

"I enjoyed that part of my life. But, as the end of the 1990s came, my wife and I started having kids, we decided it was time to come back to Indiana and that's when I got in the public education."

Cochren said that he coached in the Fort Wayne area before taking an AD job at Bosse.

"Once I became an athletic director in 2002. I did not coach at all, as I've been an athletic director for 21 years. I did coach up in the Fort Wayne area for a while I was teaching there. My parents were in Fort Wayne at the time, so that's where we went from West Virginia, that's where we started out," he added.

Being an AD for more than two decades, he has been around the game and doesn't expect many changes from the last time he had the reins.

"I don't think it's any different. I mean, obviously it was a huge adjustment from the level of players and kids that were coaching when I was at a racquet club and I had to adjust my routine then. I went from kids who were playing year-round to only picking up a racquet for two months," said Cochren.

He is looking for a good year with a group that showed success under prior coach Brian Hancock.

"We've got a talented bunch and my expectations no matter what I'm doing is that expectation is to win. There's no reason why we can't win our conference and make a push at the sectional. South Knox has got all their kids back. They beat our team in a very, very, close match last year and hopefully will improve enough this year to get that done."

Although spots aren't fully set yet, he has an idea of where things might start.

"We've got Lacey Hancock back. Lacy has been No. 1. She's a junior, and she's very, very talented. Kenna Garland is at two, and right now Sophia Hill is at number three singles. I don't know if that'll stay permanent, as we are also looking at our doubles teams that can work together and score some points. I keep telling the girls, it doesn't matter where the points come from, we've got to find three points every day."