Despite that success, a new coach will be found to try to continue the Eagles’ upward trajectory in 2013.
Cochran confirmed Tuesday that he had been relieved of his duties, effective at the end of the season.
It is a surprising decision, particularly with Mount Paran sporting a 21-2 record — including a 20-6 rout of then-No. 1 Darlington — and the No. 4 ranking in the Class A coaches poll.
Cochran, a local mainstay who coached at North Cobb from 1971-2005 before spending two years at North Atlanta, said he was informed of his dismissal in a phone call from athletic director Mitch Jordan.
Cochran said no reason was given for the decision.
“I was told that they wanted to go in a different direction,” he said. “I didn’t get an explanation from them why I was being let go. We’re 21-2. I don’t understand why we need to go in a different direction.”
Jordan did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
Dave McDonald, the longtime Wheeler coach in his second year as Cochran’s pitching coach at Mount Paran, said he too will be leaving at the end of the season.
McDonald was just as baffled about the decision not to retain Cochran.
“We’re 21-2. What other direction do they want to go?” said McDonald, who serves as a volunteer coach.
The future of the other assistants — Kenny Palmer, Jim Rismiller and Kyle Reese — are still in question.
Mount Paran has steadily improved since Cochran took the reins from Russ Russell in 2009.
The Eagles went 14-14 in Cochran’s first season, then fell back to 10-15 in 2010 before improving to 20-11 last year and advancing to the second round in their first state playoff appearance since 2006.
Mount Paran, whose only losses have come against Class AAAA Kell and Region 6A rival Darlington, has also beaten three Class AAAAA teams and two out-of-state opponents. And next season may be even brighter, as the Eagles have only one senior listed on their roster.
Cochran has compiled a 675-354 record in his four decades as a high school baseball coach, including a 64-42 mark in his four years with the Eagles.
He made his biggest mark at North Cobb, where he won 571 games and led the Warriors to seven region titles.
Cochran’s departure from North Cobb also came with question as to whose decision it was.
“I didn’t really want to leave,” he told the Marietta Daily Journal in the fall of 2005, “but I felt like it was the right thing to do. At least, I hope it’s the right thing to do.”
Cochran said he was planning to coach one more year at Mount Paran before retiring, and that he’s disappointed to be ending his tenure a year early.
“We have a really good team here,” Cochran said. “We have something good going on here, and I’m sorry that I won’t be back to see it through one more year.”
Cochran stated how much he enjoyed working with his players at Mount Paran and overseeing their development the last four years.
“I had some great kids at North Cobb, and I have some great kids at Mount Paran,” he said. “I love coaching high school baseball. It’s baseball at its purest form. I love working with the kids at Mount Paran, they are a great bunch of kids to work with.”
— Marietta Daily Journal sports editor John Bednarowski contributed to this report.