Monday, May 02, 2005

OU Coach Resigns After Making Racial Remark

It’s not a word that you hear everyday, it shouldn’t be a word you hear at all, but yet he said it, twice, on two separate occasions. In conversations with two ESPN reporters at two separate times, OU baseball coach Larry Cochell used the, “N” word.

Cochell made the racial remarks as he was praising freshman outfielder Joe Dunigan, who is black. The comments, made in two separate off-camera interviews, were reported to the University of Oklahoma on Friday by ESPN. Cochell, who didn’t deny making the remarks, submitted a letter of resignation to University President David Boren on Sunday.

There could have been no alternate resolution to this issue. No amount of dedication or service is enough to cause anyone to overlook statements like these. There is no suspension long enough or any fine large enough to make retribution for insensitive remarks made in this manner by a man who makes his living mentoring other young men. Larry Cochell has a reputation of being a stand-up guy and a class act, but there is just no way he could have remained at OU, where he has coached for 14 years, after the comments were made public.

Cochell could have been remembered for leading the Sooners to a 1994 College World Series victory or for several other coaching milestones, winning 1000 games, making three College World Series appearances. Rather, he will be remembered as a great coach and a good guy who had his career cut short by racially insensitive remarks. Instead of wondering what else he could have done in his career, Sooner fans will wonder if there was not more to him that they were not aware of.