1997 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hall, Dickerson, Rayborn

Senate Concurrent Resolution 581

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, LeRoy Braxton "Roy" Cochran was born on a farm in Richton, Mississippi, on January 26, 1919, as the ninth of ten children; and

WHEREAS, with ten kids in the family, not much money, and not much to do, the whole family took up running and literally ran everywhere from school to the store to home for the sheer joy of running; and

WHEREAS, Roy Cochran was a world champion and Olympic gold medalist track star who is a member of Mississippi's greatest Olympic family; and

WHEREAS, Roy was a star quarterback for Richton High School and was a highly recruited athlete out of high school; and

WHEREAS, Roy was a one-man track team at Richton from 1933 to 1937, and was recruited by Coach E.C. "Billy" Hayes to attend the University of Indiana, Hayes having been track coach at Mississippi State where Roy's older brother, Commodore Shelton Cochran, had become a national champion quarter miler and captain of the track team at State in 1922 and 1923; and

WHEREAS, Hayes and brother Commodore convinced Roy to turn down a football scholarship offer from Tulane to run track in basketball country at Indiana; and

WHEREAS, as a Hoosier track star, Roy became a national and world champion quarter miler, and he also became the best in the world in the 400 meter high hurdles; and

WHEREAS, Roy Cochran was named to All American track teams three times, in 1939, 1940 and 1941, while he attended the University of Indiana, and also won broad jump competitions in Big Ten Conference meets, winning four Big Ten Championships; and

WHEREAS, in 1939, Roy participated in a European tour organized for the U.S. Track team as a prelude to the 1940 Olympics scheduled for Helsinki, and was chosen to run in the 1600 and 3200 meter relays, the 400 meters, and 400 meter hurdles; and

WHEREAS, Roy set a series of new records in the 400 meter hurdles and relays during the two-month tour, and he was a 1940 National AAU Champion, thereby securing his spot with the U.S. Olympic track team; and

WHEREAS, when the 1940 Olympics were cancelled due to the war in Europe, Roy Cochran entered the V-7 Navy officer training course at Notre Dame upon his graduation from Indiana in 1942, subsequently going to Miami for training in the Navy's Sub Chaser Training School; and

WHEREAS, the Miami Herald stated, "If Roy Cochran, Indiana's great runner and holder of numerous world records, can smash as many U-Boats as he has track records, the Navy's problems with undersea raiders would be considerably reduced"; and

WHEREAS, he served in the Pacific during World War II, believing his athletic career to be over, and at the war's end attended the University of Southern California in pursuit of graduate degrees in physiology; and

WHEREAS, while back in school at Southern Cal, he began to run again for pure fun and recreation, and was surprised to find that his times were faster than ever; and

WHEREAS, Roy returned to training for the Olympics and, during the tryouts for the 1948 Olympics in London, his times were remarkably world class, breaking the Olympic record in the final 400 meter hurdle tryout heat; and

WHEREAS, at the games in London, Roy won the 400 meter hurdles in new Olympic record time of 51.1 seconds and claimed his first Olympic gold medal, following up with a second gold medal as he ran the third leg of the 1600 meter relay for the winning U.S. Team; and

WHEREAS, Roy's gold medal victories were won 24 years after his brother's wins in the Paris Olympics, and it is believed that Roy and Commodore are the only brothers ever to win Olympic gold; and

WHEREAS, Roy was an humble champion, who rarely, if ever, mentioned his Olympic feats; and

WHEREAS, Roy is a second cousin to Mississippi U. S. Senator Thad Cochran and Central District Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Nielsen Cochran; and

WHEREAS, LeRoy Braxton Cochran died on September 26, 1981, at the age of 62; and

WHEREAS, Cochran's daughter, Janice Cochran Pendleton, attended the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, and still treasures her father's gold medals from London; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of this Legislature to commend the achievements of its native sons, which the Legislature now takes great pleasure in doing on this occasion:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend LeRoy Braxton "Roy" Cochran upon his posthumous induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and congratulate his family, extending the sincere thanks of a grateful state for the honor brought to Mississippi by this great athlete.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be given to the family of Roy Cochran.