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Laurel names basketball coaches: Paul Barta boys, Eddie Cochran girls

Posted: 7:55 PM, May 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-14 13:05:38-04
Laurel and Billings Central play in front of a good crowd during the 2018-18 basketball season. (SCOTT BREEN/MTN Sports)

LAUREL — The Laurel Locomotives named Paul Barta and Eddie Cochran as boys and girls head basketball coaches on Monday night after a vote by the school board.

Barta spent nearly three decades coaching basketball (with a few breaks) in Columbus. During one stretch he held the head coaching position simultaneously for both boys and girls teams.

Cochran, a former MSU Billings player, takes over Laurel’s girls program. Cochran had most recently been coaching middle school players at Elder Grove.

“The big thing is following the footsteps of Pat Hansen,” Cochran told MTN Sports. “He’s a legend there.”

Cochran also says the bigger picture is important to him.

“My goal is to see how many kids I can get scholarships,” he said. “That’s my biggest thing. Championships come after. How neat is it for kids to get Division I, II or III scholarships?”

As for a style he expects to lay out?

“I can’t play anymore, so I want to give back with my knowledge,” he said. “I want my girls to be fast, tenacious, take peoples’ hearts out, so they’re intimidated when they step on the court.”

The hires come a little more than a month after Pat Hansen stepped down . He had coached Laurel’s boys for 14 seasons and had recently completed his first year of coaching boys and girls. Both teams qualified for the State A tournament in March.

Hansen’s Laurel teams won two Class A boys titles. He previously coached at Gardiner, guiding the Bruins to the 2005 Class C boys state championship.