Where are they now'

Charley Cobb

Medford High School, 1969

Charley Cobb was the big man on campus, literally and figuratively, when he starred in football and basketball for the Medford Black Tornado.

That changed when the 6-foot-7, 245-pound lineman and post player went to Oregon and joined the football team. Scanning the huddle, he saw his roommate, Dan Fouts, and a couple of other pretty fair quarterbacks in Norv Turner, now offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, and June Jones, who later transferred to Portland State and is now the Hawaii coach. There also was Bobby Moore, aka Ahmad Rashad, and assistant coaches John McKay and George Seifert.

It was a pretty potent offense, says Cobb, 52, who lives in Lake Oswego and owns two sign companies. It was easy to get excited about football. We had some real opportunities, except we couldn't beat the Beavers.

A win over Oregon State in Cobb's senior year ended an eight-game losing streak.
— Cobb, who grew up as a neighbor to Medford football coach Fred Spiegelberg, was all-state in both sports. He was every bit as good in basketball, averaging about 25 points per game. He hoped to play at UO, but a tough academic transition his first term squelched the chance.

I wasn't ready for the big school and almost failed, he says. Then I got my act together and made it through.

As a Duck sophomore, Cobb was a defensive line starter, then was used primarily as a pass rusher by his senior year. Upon graduating with a degree in economics, he worked for a bank in Eugene for six years, then went north to work for Benchcraft, the sign company he's owned for seven years and worked at for 23. The company used to have ads on Portland buses and now specializes in golf course benches and tee signs. He provides signs to 1,700 golf courses in 32 states, including a number in Southern Oregon.

Four years ago, he started another business, Image Media, which specializes in digital signs.

Cobb, who married the former Nancy Piazza, has two sons, Michael, 25, who works for him, and Matt, a wide receiver on the Southern Oregon University football team.

Cobb still marvels at his Medford prep experience.

Every time I go down there and see that (Spiegelberg) stadium ... the facilities up here just don't compare, he says. Football was king down there.

And he was a big part of it.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail

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