The Southeastern Conference's most anticipated cross-divisional matchup of the 2020 football season is Georgia's trip to Alabama on Sept. 19.
That game became more interesting Monday, when longtime Crimson Tide strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran left to become special teams coordinator for Kirby Smart's Bulldogs. Georgia has been seeking a special teams coach since Scott Fountain left Athens in early January for the same position under new Arkansas coach Sam Pittman.
"Scott's passion and energy is contagious," Smart said Monday night in a released statement. "Special teams coordinator is a great fit, as he'll be working with all position groups. His knowledge and experience elevates our entire program."
Cochran has been Alabama's strength coach for all 13 of Nick Saban's seasons in Tuscaloosa, five of them resulting in national championships. He was an assistant strength coach at LSU in 2003, when Saban led the Tigers to their first national title since 1958, and then became an assistant strength coach for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets before reuniting with Saban.
Before spring practice each year, Cochran implemented the "Fourth Quarter Program," which often yielded tremendous results once a season kicked off. Alabama's 2009 national championship team outscored opponents 121-32 in the fourth quarter, and the 2011 national champs posted a fourth-quarter advantage of 111-18.
Cochran made $120,000 in his first season as Alabama's strength coach and $595,000 this past season. His salary jumped from $395,000 to $525,000 after the 2015 season, when he elected to stay with the Tide after being offered the strength role on Smart's first Georgia staff.
"Scott did a really good job for us here and was a big part of our success, but he was looking for a new career path," Saban told ESPN. "He wanted to get on the field coaching and would like one day, I think, to be a head coach. We didn't really have anything here to offer him along those lines, and Georgia did. I understand him wanting to take on that path.
"As good as Scott was for us here as our head strength coach, it's probably best for him and best for us if he's able to do there at Georgia what he wants to do now with his career."
Cochran oversaw Alabama's $9 million weightroom facility that contains 21,000 square feet on the first level and 16,000 on the second level. The facility includes a nutrition center and offices.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.