Beginning this semester, John Cochrane will take over as the newly appointed director of athletics at Wartburg.

Cochrane is coming in with a plethora of experience, including eight years working in the NCAA, eight years as director of athletics at Cornell College, and time spent as the commissioner of what is now known as the American Rivers Conference.


Moving into his next role at Wartburg, Cochrane expresses he wants to keep operations moving smoothly.

“Coming in mid-year has its challenges,” said Cochrane. “There’s procedures in place. There’s polices in place. I tried fitting in as soon as I could, be as least disruptive as I could, but at the same time try to learn and figure out how things are done here. I’ll spend most of remainder of the semester more in ‘evaluation mode’ than anything else.”

Despite the challenges that come with a new position halfway through the school year, especially one as impactful as athletic director, Cochrane said that the current staff surrounding him are helping him learn and grow.

“My first priority when I started was to make sure that I did everything that I could to establish trusting relationships with our current staff. I think that’s just a critical component to eventually being effective,” said Cochrane. “This staff is so good at what they do. I want to try to facilitate their jobs as best as I can. If I can help them be a little more effective and efficient at what they do, that’s really my goal.”

Despite only having been on campus for a few weeks, Cochrane is already looking to develop Wartburg’s athletic department and assist Wartburg’s 700+ student athletes.

“We’ve certainly identified some needs,” said Cochrane. “As our number of student athletes grows, we need to be able to support those young people in terms of sports medicine. We need to be making sure that they’re well cared for, making sure that we have adequate staff to effectively run our programs and be available to our athletes on a daily basis.”

With Cochrane’s appointment, interim athletic director Ryan Callahan was promoted to associate athletic director while retaining his previous role as head athletic trainer. In his new position, Callahan is working administratively for the athletic department while helping Cochrane’s transition.

“Within that role,” said Callahan, “I’ll oversee all of our support services — athletic training, strength and conditioning, sports information, equipment, laundry, all of those secondary support services that go along with athletics.”

Callahan shares Cochranes’s vision of growth for the department.

“[We’re] continuing to expand and continuing to be as competitive as we can athletically while giving our student-athletes the best experience that we can,” said Callahan.

While transitions may occasionally feel bumpy, Cochrane said he wants the athletic department to keep operating as best as it can.

“When I was young,” said Cochrane, “I couldn’t envision having any job in my life that wasn’t associated with athletics, and I still feel that way. I love being around competition, I love seeing young student athletes sacrificing their time and energy to prepare for something that’s bigger than themselves. I think there’s so much character to be built through participation in intercollegiate athletics. All of that drew me to it.”


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