Coach's Corner: Bill Cochrane, Salem

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by Brian Smith, 13NEWS

WVEC.com

Posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 30 at 11:32 AM

It's been just over a decade since Dean Smith called it a career as the head coach at the University of North Carolina. His basketball coaching tentacles still reach here in Hampton Roads to this day.

Over at Salem High School, Bill Cochrane is in the midst of his 20th season at the helm as Sun Devils head coach. He's been at it a total of 37 years, but he got his hoops foundation in Chapel Hill.

"I had scholarship offers to play at East Carolina, but I chose to go North Carolina; played at UNC, then worked with Coach Smith, Coach (Bill) Guthridge and Eddie Fogler for three years after that. That's where I learned my basketball." Not bad teachers.

Cochrane played as a freshman and was there from 1963-1967. "Billy Cunningham was a senior when I was a freshman", he says. "He kind of took me under his wing and made sure I understood what North Carolina basketball was about."

Despite the Sun Devils struggles this season, Salem has been one of the more successful programs in the Beach District under Cochrane. He won a state title in 2001 with former University of Maryland great, John Gilchrist as his guard.

They're currently around the .500 mark and have been plagued by injuries, but that hasn't stopped Cochrane from teaching the lessons of his mentor.

"He just gives everybody sound advice. Like your education first, character, loyalty. Traits that he taught that you need to exhibit on the court, is what's going to make you successful in life."

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