When Missouri’s football team beat Kansas in the epic 2007 Border War game at Arrowhead Stadium to capture the Big 12 North Division and likely clinch the No. 1 spot in the national polls, athletics director Mike Alden and his staff figured the celebratory locker room needed a special guest.
“It was very important for Gary Pinkel and myself that Bill Cocos be in that locker room celebrating,” Alden said Wednesday. “We have a big photo of him with that trophy on his lap in his wheelchair. There was a guy who had done so much for us in the down times and here we were getting ready to ascend to No. 1 in the country.”
Cocos wasn’t just a Mizzou football fan.
“In my opinion, he was more of a fixture,” said former player and now athletics administrator Howard Richards.
From 1948, when he played the trumpet for the Marching Mizzou band, to the program’s nascent days in the SEC earlier this decade, Cocos was a fixture at Tiger home games, attending more than 360 consecutive contests at Memorial Stadium, a streak that earned him the distinction as one of Mizzou’s most devoted supporters.
Cocos, who for decades ran his family’s Lemay plumbing business and served on the university’s Board of Curators in the 1980s, died Tuesday in St. Louis at the age of 86. Cocos, a 1953 MU graduate, had been suffering from a lengthy illness.
For his 17 years as athletics director, Alden watched more MU football games alongside Cocos than anyone other than his wife and son, he said Wednesday. Cocos, one of MU’s top annual donors, drove a bus from…
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