By Malen Blackmon
The Brookhaven College men’s basketball team stood tall as they ran away with a victory against former Brookhaven basketball players in the 11th annual Don Cockrell Alumni Game.
The annual alumni game celebrates more than just past Brookhaven athletes. It is intended to keep alive the memory of former Brookhaven College athletics and equipment manager Don Cockrell.
“Don Cockrell was one of my mentors when I first got here,” Kevin Hurst, athletic director, said. “[He was] just a very hard-working self-starter and was really, really loved by everyone.”
Cockrell worked behind the scenes for all the sports teams on campus for 26 years and loved his job. In a 2017 issue of the Courier, past Bears referred to Cockrell as a father figure and said he was the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back.
Hurst said Cockrell never put himself above anyone and would help anytime he could. Hurst recalled a time Cockrell went home after a workday, drove back to campus, hopped in a bus and drove to Grayson County, Texas to pick up the basketball team after their bus broke down.
The basketball team also uses the game as a way to help raise money for Operation Kindness, a Carrollton non profit animal shelter. According to their website, it is the oldest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas.
Hurst said Cockrell loved animals and was a firm believer in what Operation Kindness does. “He was really big into no-kill animal shelters,” Hurst said.
Cockrell’s memory and spirit continue to thrive at Brookhaven because of this annual basketball game.
“[It is] just a great way to keep his name alive and honor him, and as long as I’m here we’re going to continue to do that,” Hurst said.