The search for a new head girls basketball coach at Lenoir City High School came to a conclusion June 2 following the hiring of Brad Cochran from William Blount High School.
“It’s all about finding the right fit and, talking to Brad, he understands our community and has played and coached against our school,” Chris Brittain, LCHS athletic director, said. “He understands what we’re looking for, he understands the state of the program, he understands what we’re looking for our program to be in the future. He knows we want to grow it and he has a vision in place to get that done, and I think he’s going to bring a lot of energy to the program. I think he’s just the right fit.”
Cochran spent the last nine years as an assistant basketball and football coach at WBHS and is excited about the opportunity to rebuild the Lady Panthers program.
“The history of Lenoir City drew me to this, and I want to bring that passion back and I feel like the community wants it, they’re hungry for it, they’re craving for it,” Cochran said. “I’m here to try to deliver and I’m going to serve them because it’s not about Brad Cochran, it’s going to be about Lenoir City girls basketball and then Lenoir City overall. Like the teams before, I want to pack this place out and I want to give Lenoir City to give us another reason to build us a gym because we don’t have enough seating.”
Cochran replaces Tim Smith, who accumulated a 69-149 overall record in six seasons at the helm. The Lady Panthers went 5-18 overall and 0-14 in District 4-3A last season.
“I spent nine years with William Blount with Kevin Windle, who’s a Lenoir City prodigy,” Cochran said. “I’m blessed to be here and the reason why is because the Lord’s blessed me with this opportunity to serve these girls, but he’s also brought me here because I’ve been praying for it. I talk about my faith a lot, I’m a member of (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and I’m just excited to be here.”
Cochran hit the ground running the day he was hired and has held several practices with the team. He believes in playing aggressive and quick on both ends of the court, which he thinks could benefit the Lady Panthers in a new district this season.
“From Xs and Os, we’re going to get out and press and we’re going to try and get up and down the court,” Cochran said. “We’re going to shoot a lot of threes and attack the rim. We’re going to control the game and play with our pace, which means teams will have to keep up with us. Now we’re going to have to find the depth to be able to do that, but we’ll get there and we’re going to have to maybe count on some younger girls because I have a next-man-up mentality. Girls basketball is on the rise and we’re going to run and gun and just have a lot of fun. I want these girls to know that I care for them and the fans care for them.”
High school teams across the state have begun participating in camps and summer exhibitions, but Cochran hopes to have the team up to speed within the next two weeks.
The Lady Panthers traveled Monday and Tuesday to William Blount for their first summer action and will return again Friday.
The team heads to Lee University later this month to face off against competition from around the region.
“This summer is crucial because we’re a little bit behind the eight ball because it is June, but at the same time we’re just growing and creating a lot of excitement late into the season,” Cochran said. “It’s kind of a double-edge sword because we’re kind of behind with schematics, but during the summer I just want to build those relationships with the girls, build that trust. I want them to develop that culture and that excitement that they want to be a part of this. I think the girls are craving for it, and that’s just really what I’m focused on right now.”