Usually top football coaches leave one school for a better opportunity at another. Not state title-winning Connecticut coach Jack Cochran. He left the profession altogether, then found himself running a restaurant.
As reported by New Haven ABC affiliate WTNH, Cochran won state titles at Bloomfield, New Britain and New London high schools and coached at other state powers as well, including Harding High in Bridgeport. His methods got great results but were also criticized for their intensity. That intensity impacts Cochran himself, and the coach was forced to walk away from Harding midseason in 2013 due to a reported heart condition. He spent the following pair of years watching plenty of football, pondering his next move in the sport, and often eating at The Recovery Room, a restaurant in New London.
Then one day he heard The Recovery Room was up for sale. The coach had spent so much time there that he already knew the cooks, so he went in, made an offer and bought the restaurant outright.
That’s led to a very different type of coaching for Cochran, and far less certainty about results.
“It definitely paid off, all the hours I put in not only as a coach, but as a teacher,” Cochran told WTNH. “Just being able to motivate and get people to do what they don’t really want to do to achieve something for the common goal. … Whatever you put into something, you’re going to get out of it, and my goal is to make Recovery Room the number one restaurant in Connecticut.
“In football, I knew that if I worked 120 hours a week, I was going to score 70 points. Here, I can work 200, and I don’t know who’s going to walk through that door.”
Cochran insists that he’s happy running The Recovery Room for now, though he can’t commit to being done with football. If he truly does make The Recovery Room one of Connecticut’s most-visit dining spots, he probably won’t have the opportunity to return to the sidelines anytime soon.