Larry Cochell, the Northwestern University coach who was unable to reach terms with Cal State Fullerton during an interview trip here last week, Thursday was named Titan baseball coach. He succeeds Augie Garrido, who last month resigned to become head coach at Illinois.
Cochell, 47, was widely rumored to be Fullerton's choice for the job and apparently was so close to agreeing that Fullerton officials tentatively planned an announcement last Friday. But instead he returned to Illinois and appeared to be the third front-runner to withdraw from consideration for the job.
"After the initial interview process I was convinced he was the man for the job," Fullerton Athletic Director Ed Carroll said Thursday. "But under the time constraints we were under, we weren't able (last week) to work out the details of his appointment."
Cochell, reached in Illinois, said he made the final decision to accept the offer Thursday. He begins at Fullerton next week.
"I'm excited about coming to Fullerton, and my wife and I are excited about getting back to Southern California," said Cochell, who coached at Cal State Los Angeles from 1972-76.
"Augie Garrido has started a good program there and built a great foundation that makes it easier coming in."
The hiring of Cochell ends a search of just more than three weeks during which two front-runners with Fullerton ties withdrew from consideration.
Loyola Marymount Coach Dave Snow, a former Titan assistant under Garrido, withdrew after informal discussions, citing personal reasons. Cerritos College Coach George Horton, who played at Fullerton under Garrido, withdrew after interviewing, saying he was "not interested" in the $80,000 fund-raising effort required in the job.
After talks with Cochell appeared to end last week, Fullerton abandoned its Sept. 1 target date for filling the vacancy and named assistant coach Dick Larner interim coach.
In Cochell's only season at Northwestern, his team was 23-20-1. Before that, he coached at Oral Roberts for 10 years, seven of his teams being ranked in the top 10 nationally. He was also athletic director at Oral Roberts for three years. His career record is 685-384-2.
Cochell played at Arizona State and began his coaching career at Emporia State in Kansas. He also coached at Creighton before leaving for Cal State L.A.
Cochell is a member of two prestigious NCAA baseball committees--the rules committee and the All-America selection committee.