From scoreboards to concession stands, Coca-Cola UNITED has a special relationship with high school sports in Alabama

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Coca-Cola UNITED’s Reggie Cochran is proud of the Bessemer City High School Scoreboard. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

According to Coca-Cola UNITED’s Justin DeMarco, “High school sports in Alabama is the ‘front porch’ of the community. It’s where life happens.”

He should know. 

A graduate of Springville High School in St. Clair County, DeMarco began his 19-year career at Coca-Cola UNITED delivering Coke products to local businesses. Today, he supervises a team of 13 managers who work on Coca-Cola UNITED accounts throughout Alabama, supporting high school sports. 

“I’ve got the greatest job at Coca-Cola UNITED,” DeMarco exclaimed during a walking interview near the warning track at the Springville High School Softball field.

Coca-Cola is one of the AHSAA’s oldest corporate partners. Nearly every middle and high school in Alabama has an account with Coca-Cola UNITED. 

That’s a big front porch.

A Special Relationship with Coaches, Administrators and More

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Coca-Cola UNITED’s Justin DeMarco (Bham Now)

DeMarco beams when he talks about working with high schools and their athletic programs.  

“I have worked with athletic directors, principals, superintendents and coaches, not only from a business standpoint, but on a personal level,” he said. “Those relationships mean a lot to me. We want them to be successful.”

Scoreboards and Fundraising Opportunities 

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Springville High School Scoreboard (Bham Now)

Believe it or not, scoreboards are one of Coca-Cola UNITED’s biggest investments in high sports in Alabama. When a high school sets up an account with Coca-Cola UNITED, the company invests in  sports programs by purchasing and refurbishing scoreboards, whether they’re at a football stadium, the softball field or inside the gym. 

When a school works with Coca-Cola UNITED, the company also provides:

  • Banners to advertise for events
  • Coolers
  • Financial Aid
  • Hydration stations
  • Menus
  • Sideline Equipment
  • Sports drink powders
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Vending machines

Boosters and school clubs benefit too. When they hold a fundraiser or staff the concession stands, by having a direct account, they can purchase Coke products at less than the retail price.

“Here at Springville High School, we appreciate Justin, Coca-Cola UNITED and the Alabama High School Athletic Association for what they do for high school sports,” Springville Principal Dr. Gregory Moore told Bham Now.

Part of the Community

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Coca-Cola UNITED account manager Reggie Cochran at the Bessemer City High School Scoreboard. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

As a high school player, parent and mentor, Reggie Cochran has seen first-hand the impact of Coca-Cola UNITED’s special relationship with Alabama’s high schools.

Cochran has been part of the Coca-Cola UNITED team for 15 years. However, his journey with the company started more than three decades ago when he played high school sports at Bessemer’s Jess Lanier High School (now Bessemer City High School). 

The touchdowns he scored lit up the scoreboard provided by Coca-Cola UNITED. Years later, his brother Earl followed in his footsteps, and later played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans.

Cochran’s son and daughter played sports at Hoover High School. And over his years working for Coca-Cola UNITED, he has mentored many high school athletes.

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Photo from Jess Lanier High School Yearbook, Reggie Cochran is the player lifted up after scoring a touchdown.

“I’m still connected with several different schools,” said Cochran, who played on the Jess Lanier football team that was a runner-up to the State title in the 80s and played college football at Alabama A&M. “High school players look up to me and my brother. I have helped student-athletes from Hueytown, McAdory,Bessemer City and Midfield high schools by sharing my experiences in athletics and in my workplace. Coca-Cola UNITED is my connection.”

Coca-Cola UNITED — A Local Birmingham-based Company

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Birmingham based Coca-Cola United is one of the AHSAA’s oldest corporate partners. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Another thing people don’t realize is that Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc, founded in 1902, is locally-owned in Birmingham.   

“It’s a local group, family-owned.” DeMarco emphasized. “United is a family owned business. We’re not the Coca-Cola in Atlanta. So when you see the scoreboards and equipment at Hoover, Springville, and other high schools throughout the state — that’s local dollars.

And guess what? 


They’re gonna continue to do that because it is a passion point for us, supporting high school athletics and Alabama High School Athletic Association.”

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Pat Byington
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