If you're wondering how, year after year after year, the University of Alabama churns out so many NFL-ready prospects, look no further than Crimson Tide strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran. Widely regarded as one of the best in the business, Cochran has won National Strength Coach of the Year awards twice since joining Nick Saban's staff in 2007.
He's the overseer of Saban's infamous "Fourth Quarter Program," a relentless conditioning and training regimen that trains the player's minds and bodies for the grind of a college football season, which, for Alabama, usually ends in January at the College Football Playoff. So important is Cochran's contribution to his team's overall mental and physical state, that Alabama is now paying him like a head coach.
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In 2012, Cochran's salary was $290,000. According to AL.com, he recently signed an extension for $420,000 a year through 2017. A few weeks ago, when 'Bama's defensive coordinator Kirby Smart left to fill the vacant head coaching position at the University of Georgia, Saban feared that Cochran, who is close with Smart, might tag along with him. To prevent that from happening, Alabama bumped Cochran's salary up "in excess" of $500,000, according to TideSports.com.
In press release, Saban said, "I'm very happy that Scott Cochran will continue to lead our strength and conditioning program. He's an important part of our program and does an outstanding job. The players really respond to him, and his role has been a big part of what we have been able to accomplish in terms of our success here both on and off the field."
To put that kind of money into perspective, consider this: Cochran is now making more money than head coaches like Georgia Southern's Willie Fritz ($500,000), whose team won the Sun Belt championship in 2014. It could be speculated that Cochran is paid more than all but one head coach in the entire MAC. Ohio University's Frank Solich, the league's second-highest paid head coach, is making $564,260, according to USA Today. Akron's Terry Bowden, who led Auburn to an undefeated season in 1992, is making just $407,500.
It's good to be Scott Cochran.
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