Connecticut High School Football

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WTNH jumps on the Harding-Cochran saga early with big feature story


Harding coach Jack Cochran shows players how to power clean during workouts shown in WTNH's report on the program.

Harding coach Jack Cochran shows players how to power clean during workouts shown in WTNH’s report on the program.

On the the day of the first high school practice of 2013, we were going to take a visit to Harding to check out lightning rod coach Jack Cochran on his first official day. After all, his hiring at the struggling city program was one of the offseason’s biggest stories.

Turns out, WTNH’s John Pearson beat us to the punch — by about five days.

Pearson visited Cochran the day before his All-City Instructional football camp at Harding High School on August 10.  Jack and the members of the team were working out and lifting, getting ready for the season.

We couldn’t have done a better job if we tried. Thanks guys.

Among the highlights:

  • Cochran’s revelation that many of the Harding players “didn’t even know who I was” when he got the job. “…Which was a little bit of a positive.”
  • Antoine Sistrunk, a former Harding player, who’s been involved with the school for years as an assistant basketball and football coach, highlighting the positives of Cochran’s arrival. “It’s tough out there. Sometimes you need a guy like coach Cochran to come in and give you that motivation and that extra encouragement you need to keep fighting.”
  • Cochran on the controversial ‘Score management’ policy that unofficially bears his name: “You want to be great and when you are great, sometimes you win by a lot of points. And, to have a rule to stop that, I think that’s kind of a disservice to the kids. Nowhere else in life do we stop people from being great.”
  • Cochran on old accusations of recruiting: “Parents have found ways to get kids to the schools I’m coaching at. That happens everywhere, in every state and every sport. And it’s not gonna stop.”
  • He also got into his efforts to battle the challenges facing the city kids and all of the Bridgeport sports programs.

Sounds like the kids are pretty fired up on the East End.

Good stuff.

Take a look at WTNH’s SportzEdge report, or just watch above.

Sean Patrick Bowley

15 Responses

  1. Bubba says:

    The guy loves to win, from a distance it’s hard to not love em. You know he’s going to make noise in the FCIAC, and eventually he will win a State Title at Harding or die trying.

  2. Josh Boone says:

    3 years max.

  3. johnnyribbs says:

    you can say what you want about the road he has taken in the past to get there.

    I’m a parent of any student @ Harding High I am really happy he is there. These kids could use the boost…sometimes you grease the wheels to get things done in a city like Bridgeport.

    I hope he someday hangs 50 on New Canaan and lets his kids take a picture of the video screen scoreboard before they get back on the bus to bpt.

  4. PapaDags says:

    I have nothing by the highest accolades for Coach Cochran and wish him and the program the very best…I’m from Seymour….

  5. Bubba says:

    I don’t agree with Jack’s method’s and his disregard for rules, regulations, and sportsmanship. However, you can’t argue he doesn’t care about the kids. Successful coaches in any sport have an “All In” Attitude, he’s a throwback. To win, you have to be completely involved in every thought that goes into preparing for success. That’s why you saw so many resignations this past season, many of those coaches over time become ineffective, they can’t get it done and the players in their programs don’t look at them the same as a coach that will bleed for them. Jack will do that! Bubba should be his agent!

  6. @jeb – gotcha. thanks

  7. mike says:

    Bubba your entirely wrong as to why so many coach’s resigned. They resigned because of little to no support by the schools administration along with the unrelenting disgruntled parents who become so overbearing that you can’t tolerate it any more. Our society today has become so incredibly soft that god forbid you ask a kid to work hard. I speak from experience.

  8. ciacfollower says:

    @mike, #7 – Truth

  9. Paul says:

    As a former member of the WHHS football team I am so pleased to see Coach Cochran take over our football program! When I played for Harding (2003-2006), we lacked discipline from our coaching staff as well as some players which resulted in our terrible game play and season outcomes. I believe Coach Cochran has all of the tools to mold these young men into great football players and teach them about this amazing game we are so privileged to play. It’s refreshing to see Harding football in the media for something positive. #HardingPride #BlueandGold

  10. Ryan says:

    Read in a story on the Republican-American redzone blog that Antoine Sistrunk was expected to be the starting running back at Naugatuck this year but “transferred to a Bridgeport school”. I’m assuming that his father is also Antoine Sistrunk, the former player mentioned in this article? I’m not trying to attack Cochran on recruiting or anything like that, in my opinion kids can play where ever they feel is best for them and they go by CIAC rules. Just saw the connection and found it interesting…players finding their way over to the East Side already.

  11. Antoine’s dad is an assistant coach with Jack now. Antoine Sistrunk works in Bridgeport, as an officer and a coach, even for Charlie Bentley, and has for as long as I’ve been at the Post.

  12. Ryan says:

    Ah, makes complete sense then. Thanks for the clarification!

  13. bubba says:

    @ Mike : good coaches don’t use the afformentioned excuses. If they were totally in they would get full support of Administration and parents. Good coaches can get everyone on their bandwagon.

  14. PrepFan says:

    In an interview on the video, coach Sistrunk also says “I’m a Bridgeport resident.”

  15. RAY BROWN says:

    hope harding parents will accept new london transfers