Casey Cochran's college career may have ended abruptly this week when the redshirt sophomore retired from football after suffering a concussion in the season opener, but he won't ever be far away from his teammates.
When coach Bob Diaco announced that Cochran's playing career was over, he added: "A silver lining in this matter is that Casey has an interest in pursuing a career in coaching. We can now accelerate his development in that area as he transitions from a player role to a mentor role as he continues to serve the team."
Diaco added to those comments Tuesday when talking about Cochran's role as a mentor.
"Casey is excited about playing a role with the team, and is excited about learning how to be a coach," Diaco told reporters. "We can immediately get started with his development in that area, give him a few jobs and a few roles. He has no change in his scholarship, all that still pertains and the requirements are still during this time period 20 hours, and out of season eight hours. He's still working in some kind of role."
Casey hasn't yes spoken with the media but his father, Jack Cochran, says his son "made the best of his opportunity when he came up," adding: "As he told me, he has no regrets. He had a great career; it's time to move on."
Jack Cochran also couldn't speak highly enough of Diaco's decision to help Casey jump-start his coaching career.
"From the first second he learned of this, he put my son's well-being ahead of what might be better for the success of the team," the father told the Associated Press. "Without this, who knows what Casey would be doing with all his time. I applaud coach Diaco. I really owe him for that."
Cochran's decision to quit playing football didn't come lightly, but it was made easier in light of recent concussion research.
"He just didn't want to be one of those people who were affected by it long term," Jack said. "He knew his age group can live another 60 to 70 years if healthy and wanted to have a strong mind and a strong body for those years."