“I found out very quickly that I was not an acrobat,” he said. “Getting up the next day was the hardest part. And trying to walk, particularly in the early part of the season, you weren’t in shape. You do a lot of jumping around and knee bends.”
Still, he loved the experience. He said he relished cheering for a competitive football team and enjoyed traveling alongside his team. One of the greatest highlights was a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
After a two-year stint in cheerleading, Cochran decided to put his name recognition to good use. He ran for vice president of the student body, a position that also served as the president of the Campus Senate.
There, he took up controversial issues, working to lengthen visiting hours for the women’s dorms. (“They were very restricted, the women,” he said.)
That was the last elected position for which he ran until 1972, when he ran for Congress.
“I’ve been here ever since, all because I agreed to be a freshman cheerleader,” he said.