- Ada, Oklahoma

December 21, 2011

Letter to the Editor

The Ada News

Ada —  

Editor, The Ada News:

On December 10, I was inducted into the Murray State Athletic Hall of Fame. It was an honor that I will forever be perplexed about.

Adding to the complexity of that evening, I found myself being on the floor with Coach Wayne Cobb, who was having the basketball court named after him. This was a surreal experience that I will never forget.

Winning many conference championships and trips to the national playoffs some 40 years ago, his teams at Murray have been unequaled since that day. It goes without saying what his contributions to East Central University meant as he coached the Tigers to many, many illustrious seasons.

Personally, I find myself fortunate to have closely watched and learned from him for many years. Coach Cobb (and other coaches I played for, was a disciple of Coach Bloomer Sullivan from Southeastern. Coach Cobb would consider it blasphemous to even be mentioned in the same breath as him because he considers Coach Sullivan to be one of the greatest anywhere, anytime. I watched Coach Sullivan when I was in junior high and high school, and Coach Cobb you are right up there with him.

 However, what distinguishes Coach Cobb from others he coached against was his way of making the most of the talent he had from year to year. When asked each year how good ECU would be he would say, “We will be as good as we can be because I will make sure of that.” Also, the measure of a successful coach is that his teams play precisely as they have been coached, with no surprises when the popcorn is popping. You could always expect to see his teams playing with discipline ... great defense and taking good shots. Makes you wonder what has happened in recent years doesn’t it?

In my thinking, and without seeming too cliché, I feel Coach Cobb’s most lasting influence was preparing his players for the days ahead in which they faced adversity, for if you played for him several years, you left galvanized for whatever you might encounter. It’s called discipline. You see, he turned boys into men. In my opinion, the greatest coaches were never “friends” of their players ... they were more than that. Just COACH.

 Coach Cobb, many of us in this community salute and honor you. There will never be another quite like you ... and that’s sad.

 Alan Simpson