FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 13, 2008
Contact: Justin Tinder, SWOSU Sports Information Director, 580-774-7162
SWOSU HIRES NEW FOOTBALL COACH
WEATHERFORD – Southwestern Oklahoma State University was able to lure away one of the most prominent and successful coaches in the Oklahoma high school ranks to take the controls of the Bulldog football program for 2009 and beyond.
Dan Cocannouer, who has spent the previous eight seasons as head coach at Edmond Santa Fe School, was formally announced as SWOSU’s new head football coach on Saturday.
Cocannouer, 52, compiled a 70-26 record (.729 winning percentage) at the Edmond school where he led the Wolves to the Class 6A finals in 2003 and semifinal appearances in 2001 and 2004. This past season the Wolves finished with a 9-3 record and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
He becomes the 21st head coach in 103 years of Bulldog football and replaces Ryan Held who resigned after four seasons after compiling a 16-28 record.
All total, Cocannouer has coached more than 30 years on the football field, including the last 24 as a head coach. He is widely respected in high school coaching circles and is a past president of the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association. He had previously led high school programs at John Marshall, Chandler, Alva and Pauls Valley and was an assistant at a number of others.
SWOSU Athletic Director Todd Thurman said Cocannouer was the overwhelming choice by a university committee that screened more than 60 applicants.“We are very excited to hire a coach with Dan's background of success. He is a SWOSU graduate and the right person to get our alumni, community and supporters excited again about Bulldog football. Obviously, his vast knowledge of the state of Oklahoma coupled with his extensive networks of coaching contacts will pay long-term dividends to our program and its recruitment," Thurman said. “I was most impressed with his leadership, his commitment to his players -- on and off the field -- his integrity and his long history of building character in young men. He is a great fit for our university in terms of where we want to go with our football program."
Cocannouer played at SWOSU after earning all-state honors as a running back at Tuttle High School. He played four seasons under legendary coach Otis Delaporte where the Bulldogs won two conference titles in 1974 and 1977. Cocannouer was a senior leader on a Bulldog team that won a school record 11 games and finished as the NAIA National Runner-up in 1977.
“This is a great opportunity for me, and I am both humbled and excited. It has always been a long-term goal of mine to become a college football coach at a program such as SWOSU," Cocannouer said. "This is where I got my start more than 30 years ago, and it always has been a special place to me.”
Cocannouer, who has been the target of a number of college coaching searches in the past, said finally deciding to make the move was one of the hardest decisions he has ever made.
“I have a lot of love for my association with Edmond Santa Fe High School. This decision was made through a lot of tears and heavy emotion by both me and my wife,” Cocannouer said. “I feel so strongly about the kids, the administration and the coaching staff that has supported so much over the last eight years here. All have played such a vital role in making Santa Fe football a success.”
Cocannouer said he became convinced the time was now right after his visit to the SWOSU campus and meeting with university officials.
“Seeing what is in place and learning more about their commitment to fielding a quality football program, it only confirmed what I had felt about the direction SWOSU is going,” he said. “We are going to become a program where high school football players from the state of Oklahoma want to attend our school and be a part of something special.”
Cocannouer inherits a SWOSU team that finished 3-8 overall in 2008. The Bulldogs will welcome back nine starters on offense, including record-setting senior quarterback Steve Day who played previously for Cocannouer at Santa Fe High School. The defense returns six starters and finished as the third best unit in the Lone Star Conference behind NCAA Division II playoff participants West Texas A&M and Abilene Christian.
His wife, Jeri Lyn, is the director of elementary education at Guthrie Public Schools and the couple has two daughters, Janie and Josie