Rod Cole retires after 15 years leading Tarleton State Athletic Performance


STEPHENVILLE – After 40 years of coaching altogether and 15 leading the Tarleton State Athletic Performance program, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Performance Rod Cole is retiring, with Wednesday as his final day.
“Rod Cole has done a tremendous job at Tarleton State these past 15 years, helping student-athletes reach their potential in their respective sports with his athletic performance training. He’s also been a great role model for them and helped them gain important skills in life,” Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman said. “I can’t thank him enough for his great service and loyalty to Tarleton State, our programs, coaches and student-athletes. The best is yet to come for Coach Cole and we wish him well.”
Cole came to Tarleton State on Jan. 12, 2009, and has led the athletic performance program ever since. Before arriving in Stephenville, Cole spent 15 years in the Big 12 Conference, one year at Texas A&M and 14 years at Kansas State, among other stops along the way,
“It went fast,” Cole said. “It’s been a blessing from 1984 in Mulvane, Kansas, to 2024 in Stephenville, Texas. It’s been a blur. Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump. The people I got to be around, the people I got to work with, a lot of guys I coached played in the NFL or went on to higher levels in athletics at the professional level – it’s just been a blessing to be a part of it.”
Cole has trained over 150 athletes who have gone on to perform in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, CFL, international professional basketball leagues, or the Olympics. Some of the most notable athletes trained by Cole are the NFL’s E.J. Speed, Darren Sproles, Jordy Nelson, Von Miller, Ryan Tannehill, and Terence Newman. Cole has worked with more than a dozen current and former NCAA Division I head football coaches as well as NFL head coach Raheem Morris.
When asked what his favorite part of coaching the last 40 years has been, Cole answered: “The day-to-day. The games are exciting and that’s all fun, but it’s the day-to-day and working with young people and seeing the improvement. I guess I was born to be a part of the grind.”
Cole made Stephenville his home with his wife and seven children and plans to stay in the area.

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“I tell everybody that Tarleton is the best job I’ve ever had. The people, the place, the experience, it’s just been a pleasure to be here, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Cole said. “Coach Reisman is the key. From the day he called and offered me the job, until today, he’s been supportive, he’s been everything you want in an athletic director. I can’t thank Coach Reisman enough. Also, coaches, I want to thank every coach who has been here, they’ve been tremendous to work with. I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff, up and down the line in every sport, to work with.”
On his last day in a working capacity at Tarleton State, Cole was asked how it all feels.
“The alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning – usually it doesn’t go off, I usually wake up before the alarm. It went off this morning and as I turned it off I thought, ‘Well, I don’t have to do that for a while,'” Cole said. “So, it’s going to be a change, it’s going to be an adjustment, but it’s time. I’m happy for Tarleton and the great things that are going on here and I just look forward to the future.”
Tarleton’s search to replace Cole is underway.

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