Faithful fan offers nearly 60 years of pigskin perspective
Bill Cocos has no use for Monday morning quarterbacks who second-guess every play a football coach calls. “You know why he called that play?” Cocos says. “Because he thought it was going to work.”
That kind of reasonable perspective comes with nearly 60 years of being a loyal fan. Cocos (pictured at right) is more than a Mizzou fan, though; he’s a fixture. The 1952 graduate and former member and president of the UM System Board of Curators hasn’t missed a home game since 1948, and he has missed just two away games since 1969. He’s here in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, naturally.
Here’s what else comes with 60 years of loyalty: insider access. Cocos often has appeared in postgame locker rooms — only after wins, of course — but one such experience stands out.
With about a minute left in the Mizzou-Kansas game on Nov. 24 at Arrowhead Stadium, officials came to Cocos’ seat to invite him to the locker room. The bad news: He missed Lorenzo Williams’ game-sealing safety sack of Todd Reesing. The good news: He got to celebrate with the team in the locker room and even hold the Big 12 North trophy after sharing a hug with Coach Gary Pinkel.
The moment was undeniably special, a pinnacle in a true fan’s career. But it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been there through the highest highs and lowest lows.
“If you follow a team, you have to follow them win, lose or draw,” Cocos says, employing a truism he has used in the many media profiles about him. “That special moment I had in Kansas City wouldn’t have been possible if we had been up all the time.”
Photo by Rob Hill