Disgraced Oklahoma Coach to Have Open Heart Surgery

Just when Larry Cochell thought things couldn’t get any worse. . .

Former OU coach to have open heart surgery (AP)

Former Oklahoma baseball coach Larry Cochell, who resigned for using a racial slur while praising a black player, is scheduled to undergo heart surgery. Cochell, 65, said he is learning all he can about the procedure that will be necessary to reduce a 70- to 80-percent blockage in one coronary artery and a 60-percent blockage in another. The blockages were discovered in a procedure Monday morning that had been scheduled long before Cochell, who is a cancer survivor, resigned Sunday because of his remarks.

Cochell said his plan is to have the surgery as soon as possible. ” … I’m a fighter,” Cochell said. “What else can I be? “It’s just another hurdle in your life,” he continued. “I trust God, and my faith pulls me through all things life puts in front of me.”

Last Tuesday, before the telecast of the Oklahoma-Wichita State game on ESPN2 and ESPNU, Cochell used a racially insensitive term in off-camera interviews with ESPN to describe Sooners freshman outfielder Joe Dunigan III, an African-American. Cochell was speaking with play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne when he called Dunigan over to praise him for staying in school. When the freshman returned to the field, Cochell told Thorne, “There’s no n—– in him.” The network informed the school that Cochell used similar language in an interview with ESPN analyst Kyle Peterson. “I just felt like [resigning] was the right thing to do,” Cochell told The Oklahoman newspaper. “I don’t know why I said it. I have never in my life used that kind of language. It was a phrase I heard a long time ago, and it just came out.”

One wonders if his heart condition might have triggered his mental lapse?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Do you even know what it is he said? Check it out before you judge him too harshly.