Larry Cockrell, who spent the last two seasons as the head hockey coach at Kents Hill School, will serve this season as the volunteer assistant coach for the University of Maine men’s hockey team.
The 53-year-old Cockrell played hockey and lacrosse at Division III Norwich University in Vermont before being commissioned into the Navy, where he flew helicopters and C-130 and C-9 airplanes.
“It’s an exciting change for me. I’ll be working with a different age group,” said Cockrell, who will commute from the Augusta area. “These players will be more mature and more focused.”
He praised head coach Red Gendron and the Black Bears staff for welcoming him into the program.
“And Sean [Walsh] has been unreal, helping me out with the technology and the video stuff,” Cockrell said.
After retiring from the Navy, Cockrell spent 10 years coaching at Kents Hill and four seasons at Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts, before returning to Kents Hill.
Kents Hill won the New England Prep School championship in 2008 and reached the 2013 small school finals.
“He is a longtime coach with a lot of experience, particularly at the secondary level. He is a hockey nut. He is very passionate about coaching and learning about the game,” Gendron said. “He is also a military man, a terrific leader and educator.”
Gendron, who expects Cockrell to be involved in all aspects of the program, noted the coach’s exceptional character.
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Cockrell replaces Scott Hillman, who left after one season as UMaine’s volunteer assistant, as was the case with his predecessors.
Cockrell was born in West Virginia but moved to Edmonton, Alberta, when he was 2 and became interested in hockey. After 10 years, he moved to Pennsylvania where he played Junior hockey before attending Norwich.
Cockrell’s wife, Tiffany, is a first-grade teacher in Gardiner and the couple has two sons, Jake and Jared, and a daughter Thaney.
Jared Cockrell will play this season for St. Cloud State as a graduate student transfer from Colgate University, where he was a two-time assistant captain and registered 23 goals and 29 assists in 112 games.