Cochran graduated from Hueytown High School where he played both football and baseball. He was offered a scholarship in both sports at Wake Forest University and starred as a passing tailback for Peahead Walker's Demon Deacons. He was named to the 1942 All-Southern Conference team.
After the outbreak of World War II he joined the Army Air Corps as a bomber pilot. He served with the 14th Air Force's 373rd Bomb Squadron and 308th Bomb Group in China, mostly ferrying fuel to the U.S. air base at Kunming. After leaving the service he returned to college and was an outfielder and clean-up hitter for the 1946 Demon Deacons baseball team.
Cochran had already been drafted by the NFL's Card-Pitt combined team in 1944. After graduating he joined the 1947 Chicago Cardinals as a cornerback, kick returner, punter and running back. As a rookie he helped Chicago win the NFL Championship by beating the Philadelphia Eagles at Comiskey Park. He went on to record 15 pass interceptions in 24 games and to set a team record for punt return average before being forced to retire due to a knee injury in 1950.
Cochran had also played Class D minor league baseball with the Goldsboro, North Carolina Goldbugs in 1948. He returned to Wake Forest as an assistant coach from 1951 to 1955 and was hired as an assistant for the Detroit Lions in 1956. In 1959 Vince Lombardi asked him to join his first staff for the Green Bay Packers. He coached the offensive backfield until 1966, tutoring quarterback Bart Starr along with the "Packer Sweep" rushing combo of Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston.
After a year away from coaching, Cochran joined the St Louis Cardinals staff in 1968, then moved to San Diego for a season with the Chargers in 1970. He returned to Green Bay in 1971 and retired after the 1974 season. He continued to work for the team as a full time scout until 1987, and part time until his death in 2004.
- Christl, Cliff (September 5, 2004) "Packers fixture dies suddenly." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- McCarter, Mark (May 12, 2014) "ASHOF Class of 2014: Red Cochran was integral part of Green Bay Packers' storied history." The Birmingham News
- "Red Cochran" (February 22, 2016) Wikipedia - accessed February 22, 2016