Bill Cochran has announced that he will retire as Rhodes’ head men’s golf coach at the end of the 2019-20 season. This season will be Cochran’s 19th year as the Lynx head coach.
“I am so grateful to have worked with Coach Cochran the last two decades,” says Matt Dean, director of athletics. “Bill has been a great coach and tremendous mentor for our men's golf teams and has built a nationally recognized program during his tenure. He has been the consummate pro and teammate in our department, and has also worked hundreds of basketball games, serving as the voice of the Lynx. Bill is loved by his peers, his student athletes, and the Rhodes community. I will miss his presence in our department.”
Cochran has established Rhodes as one of the top men’s golf programs in NCAA Division III. His teams have been ranked in the top 15 in NCAA Division III 11 times during his 18-year career. The 2006-07 team finished the season ranked fourth in the nation, and the 2003-04 team finished the year ranked fifth. The men’s golf team has won four conference championships under Cochran’s leadership, most recently winning back-to-back SAA titles in 2017 and 2018. The Lynx competed in the NCAA Division III National Championship for five consecutive years from 2014 through 2018.
In the spring of 2004, the Lynx shot a team score of 258 (22 under par), which stands today as the all-time low team score shot in college golf at any level.
“I want to personally thank Mike Clary for giving me the opportunity to coach at such a wonderful school, and to be associated with so many quality young men and women,” says Cochran. “I feel we have built an elite program at Rhodes. Being the head men’s golf coach has been a dream come true, and has provided many fond memories that I will always cherish.”
Revered by his current and former players, Cochran had two players make first team All-American, John Jennison (in 2006) and Joey Mayo (in 2016). John Jennison was the NCAA Division III national runner-up in 2006. Justin Palmer (in 2007) and Chris Harris (in 2016) were named second team All-Americans. In 2015, Chris Harris was recognized as the top freshman in NCAA Division III, and was named the Phil Mickelson Award winner.
Rhodes men’s golf has earned GCAA All-Academic Team three times for their outstanding performance in the classroom, and numerous individual players have achieved All-American Scholar honors during Cochran’s tenure.
Prior to his service at Rhodes, Bill worked for Cleo Corporation for more than 30 years, eventually serving as executive vice president for sales.
Women’s golf coach Mike Clary says of Cochran, “Bill is one of the most respected people in the Memphis golf community. By virtue of Bill’s reputation and hard work for the past 18 years, Rhodes men’s and women’s golf teams have been able to utilize the best private and public golf facilities in the Memphis area.”
In November, Cochran will be honored with a reception at Crain Field during the Homecoming football game. Rhodes will initiate a national search for Cochran’s successor in the spring of 2020.