Petaluma High School baseball coach Paul Cochrun stepping down
It won’t necessarily be the wins and losses that Paul Cochrun will remember most from his 11 years coaching Petaluma High School baseball.
It will be the kids. The ones who got drafted. The role players who rose to the occasion. The ones who provided the emotional lift when the team needed it. The ones who came back and volunteered to coach.
After more than a decade coaching the Trojans’ successful baseball program, Cochrun is hanging up his cleats.
In a letter Thursday to players, parents, alumni and boosters, Cochrun announced he wanted to step back from the time-consuming head coaching duties to devote more energy to his family.
He and his wife are expecting their second child in a few weeks and with a 2½-year-old already at home, Cochrun knew he needed to be around home more often.
“I love spending time with my daughter now and we’re going to have another child in the house (a son),” he said. “A lot of that responsibility was put squarely on my wife’s shoulders. That’s something that needs to be shared more.”
At age 39, Cochrun looked back on his adult life and realized how much time he’d spent on the diamond in the past 20-plus years.
“I’ve always told my players that their priorities should be ordered family, school and then baseball,” he said in his announcement. “I know that after giving the needed time and energy to the first two, I will not be able to give coaching and the program what it deserves.”
As head coach, Cochrun oversaw all three teams — varsity, junior varsity and freshman — and coordinated scheduling, assistant coaching duties, fundraising, parents’ concerns, practices, equipment acquisition, field maintenance and more.
He is also a teacher.
“With having a family and having a job and then adding something else …when you’re spending so much time and energy on the other thing, something’s got to give,” he said.
He started out as a junior varsity coach at Redwood High School in Marin County 18 years ago. A year later, he came to Petaluma under the late Dan Fager, whom he called one of his greatest mentors.
Fager and Jack “Bud” O’Connor “taught me how the game is supposed to be played,” Cochrun said.
In his 11 years as the Trojans head coach, Cochrun tallied a .628 winning percentage, with 182 wins, 108 losses and one tie.
Last season, Petaluma went 16-10 overall and 10-2 in the Sonoma County League, finishing second in league to Analy. The Trojans were eliminated in the first round of the NCS playoffs by Montgomery.
Petaluma is losing a talent, fellow coaches said.
“It’s tough, but it was the right decision,” said Casa Grande coach Paul Maytorena, Cochrun’s friendly crosstown rival. “He’ll be sorely missed.”
Maytorena said he gets it: “You have to prioritize.”
“If you want to do it right, it’s nonstop,” he said. “If you have a family, it’s tough. It’s got to be family first.”
Petaluma High will post the job opening in the next couple of weeks and should have a new coach soon, Cochrun said. He said will help the new coach ease through the transition however he can.
“I was very fortunate to be able to coach in Petaluma. It’s a very special place,” he said. “People are very supportive of athletics in Petaluma.”
Looking back on his decade-plus, Cochrun said there were too many memories to highlight just one.
“It’s not always the teams that win the most or the ones that win the league,” he said. “But usually it’s when we were able to get on a good run and everyone contributed … or when we came together as a program and supported each other.”
Since he will still be on campus every day, Cochrun said he can’t promise not to get back out there on the field occasionally — or at least go out and watch for a bit.
“I can still get my fix if I need to,” he said.
You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or email@example.com.