About Don Cockroft
A little about my dad, Don Cockroft:
Donald Lee Cockroft was born on February 6, 1945, in Cheyenne, Wyo. He spent much of his childhood living and working on the family farm near Delta, Colo., with his four brothers: Robert, Den, Jary and Gary. His beloved mother, Eileen, and his stepfather, Bill Cockroft, raised Dad and his brothers in a simple yet Christian-based family environment.
A walk-on athlete at Adams State College (ASC) in Alamosa, Colo., Dad was awarded an athletic scholarship his freshman year, having earned a place on the football team as a punter/kicker. Wearing the number "O," he soon became known to his teammates and ASC fans as "Donny O" (Donny-Oh). In addition to his duties as punter-where his four-year career average was 44.5 yards per punt-Dad also served as a backup quarterback and defensive back.
During his senior year in 1966, he earned a starting position as the team's strong safety. Forty-two years later, Dad still holds the ASC single-season record of averaging 48.1 yards per punt which he accomplished during his senior year-a feat which earned him NAIA All-America honors and national recognition. In 1977, his football jersey ("O") was retired, one of only three retired in the history of the college. In 2000, Dad was inducted into the Adams State College Athletic Hall of Fame and, in June of 2008, he was inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
Dad's professional career in the NFL began in 1967 when he was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns (55th overall pick). During his 13-year association with the Browns, Dad led the team in scoring during 12 of those seasons. He also set a franchise record with a 57-yard field goal in 1972 against the Denver Broncos. In addition, he kicked five field goals in one game-also against the Broncos-in 1975.
Considered the last double-duty kicker in the NFL, Dad averaged a respectable 40.4 yards per punt during his nine seasons as the Browns' punter. He was also the next-to-last straight-on kicker that the NFL would ever see. When his career ended in 1981, Dad had amassed 1,080 points, second only to the legendary Lou "The Toe" Groza.
In 2002, Dad was inducted into the Cleveland Sports Stars Hall of Fame and, in October 2007, he was inducted as a member of the Cleveland Browns Legends. What a thrill it was for my older sister, Michelle, my wife, Sandie, and me to celebrate with Dad and his wife, Barb, at this memorable event!
Throughout his professional and personal life, Dad's faith in God, through Jesus Christ, has been a driving force behind all he has done. From public speaking before smaller groups to over 40,000 attendees at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1972, Dad passionately shares his faith and what God is doing in his life. His 40-year involvement with the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) has afforded him the privilege of addressing innumerable audiences across the country.
Since his days in the NFL, Dad is remarried and lives with his wife, Barb, in Canton, Ohio, where he is a loan consultant with Willoughby Mortgage of Massillon, Ohio. Dad is a stepfather to Barb's three grown children: Katy, Daniel and Julie. My two sisters, Michelle and Melinda, and I all live in Colorado Springs, Colo. When Dad is able to make a trip back to Colorado, he enjoys spending time at our mountain home, working on his tractor, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his grandchildren: Tanner, Anna, Bodie and Emma Lee.
Well, that is a little bit about my dad, Don Cockroft. Thanks for visiting.
— Matt Cockroft