Iowa league’s Cochrane moving to AD position
The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s commissioner is leaving that post but staying in the league as the new director of athletics at Cornell College.
John Cochrane, who has chaired a pair of key NCAA committees during his seven-year tenure with the IIAC, will assume his new duties June 16.
Cochrane also will be working closer to home, as he moves from league headquarters in Cedar Rapids to an office just blocks away from his home in Mount Vernon, Iowa -- where he currently also is a school board member. The Iowa law school graduate also has been an instructor in sports law, marketing and management at the college since 2003.
“We are thrilled to have John at Cornell,” said college President Leslie H. Garner. “He’s strongly committed to our athletics program, the quality of life on campus, the student-athlete and our community.”
Cochrane said a desire to work more directly with student-athletes partially motivated the switch.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to be more directly involved in the day-to-day development of young men and women,” he said. “This is something very important to me and is really the foundation for why we all pursue education-related careers.”
He also suggested during a news conference that the opportunity to be involved in building a program at the campus level is appealing.
“The desire to and the excitement to lead and direct a staff and be part of a team to begin something…there certainly is a lot of attractiveness to being a part of one team, one common goal,” he told the Mount Vernon Gazette.
The 43-year-old Cochrane’s experience and local ties were deciding factors in his selection for an opening that attracted more than 100 applications, Garner said.
“You can’t separate the success of the college from the success and prosperity of Mount Vernon,” Garner told the Gazette. “We are better than joined at the hip. We depend on each other. I think…having a formal link with a Mount Vernon resident as our athletics director helps us nurture that relationship.”
Cochrane recently chaired the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel and also is a former chair of the Division III Championships Committee. The former Kansas football and tennis student-athlete also has served in enforcement, membership services and championships positions on the NCAA staff member. He also served during the early 1990s on the athletics staff at Detroit Mercy.
He became the IIAC’s first full-time commissioner in 2001, following his tenure on the NCAA staff.
Cochrane indicated that he hopes to build on recent actions to improve facilities at the college in attracting student-athletes and making the college’s teams more competitive.
“The biggest influence you can have as an athletics director at this level is setting the tone, helping establish an atmosphere within the program,” he told the Gazette. “But that atmosphere of expectation, of expecting to succeed and not making excuses but looking at challenges as opportunities, is really a critical part of this.
“The challenge in elevating a program in Division III is that you don’t have that carrot of athletics aid. You really have to go out and sell yourself individually.”
The IIAC announced that it will begin the search for Cochrane’s successor as soon as possible.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association