Joe Cockerham takes over as McLean football coach

Former Colgan High, Heritage High coach introduced to McLean football players in team address

Inaugural+Address--Coach+Cockerham+talks+to+the+football+team+in+his+first+appearance+as+McLeans+head+coach.

Greg Miller

Inaugural Address–Coach Cockerham talks to the football team in his first appearance as McLean’s head coach.

After a lengthy search, the McLean athletic department has decided on a new football coach. Coach John Scholla’s replacement was announced in a team address on April 11.
Joe Cockerham, the former head coach of the Heritage High Lions, will take over the head coaching position in full capacity in the 2022-23 school year.
“I’m excited to get to know a new group of kids and get to work,” Cockerham said. “We just had [about] 70 kids [at the address]. I’m really excited about the talent that I see in this room.”
Cockerham plans on using his past coaching experience to bring McLean football to the next level.
“I coached college ball for five years before I got into high school on the Division II and Division III level,” Cockerham said. “I was an assistant at Colgan High School, and then for the last three years I was the head coach at Heritage High. [At Colgan and Heritage], when we started we were struggling programs, and we got to where we were really good and going to the playoffs. I want to bring that experience here and do the same thing.”
Cockerham is already developing relationships with his players and beginning to set goals for the future.
“He’s an excellent coach, and he’s going to be a program-changing coach,” sophomore quarterback Manoli Karageorgos said. “His IQ and knowledge of the game is unmatched.”
While Cockerham will only be able to coach the rising seniors for one year, the true test of his coaching will lie in how the current and incoming underclassmen perform while developing under his scheme.
“As a rising sophomore, I hope that Coach Cockerham will be a leader by coaching us into being a unit on the field,” freshman Carter Brown said. “I believe that he has the ability to work with our players and make McLean a school that is good at football.”

As a rising sophomore, I hope that Coach Cockerham will be a leader by coaching us into being a unit on the field. I believe that he has the ability to work with our players and make McLean a school that is good at football.”

— freshman Carter Brown

For Cockerham, it was a difficult decision to leave his position at Heritage High to take on the McLean job, given his success with the Lions and the fact that the Highlanders have gone through a rough stretch of seasons.
“The big [reason] for me is the community. It’s a really good community, with good kids from good families,” Cockerham said. “It’s an opportunity to tackle 6A football, which I’m excited about.”
With a new head coach in place, there is likely to be turnover within the assistant coaching staff.
“I’m going to interview a vast majority of the staff from last year and see what happens from there,” Cockerham said. “Some of these guys may be back, some may not—we’ll just have to see what happens.”
As a coach, Cockerham himself will act as an offensive leader for the team, calling plays from the sideline.
“I’m going to be the offensive coordinator unless I’m really blown away by a candidate that applies [for the position],” Cockerham said.
There’s a lot of time until the Highlanders kick off their next football season. In the coming months, Cockerham will plan for the on-field product while trying to inspire the next generation of McLean football players.
“I’m very excited to see what Coach Cockerham will bring to the organization,” Brown said. “I hope that McLean’s football program will greatly benefit from a guy with so much experience.”