Photo by Autumn Walter |CIGAR| Dan Hurley passes the torch to head coach David Cox after four years working alongside each other.
The search is officially over. David Cox is the next Rhode Island men’s basketball head coach. The announcement came down on the last Wednesday, April 4, from the University of Rhode Island Athletic Department. A press conference was held in the Ryan Center last Friday as the URI basketball community and local media came together to introduce the 20th head coach in program history.
URI President David Dooley kicked off the news conference as he shared his thoughts on the new head coach.
“When we officially announce today Dave Cox as head coach you should understand it wasn’t an automatic decision,” he said. “Coach Cox came in and he earned it, and everything he’s going to get. He impressed everyone in the room.”
Cox came to URI as the associate head coach under the departing Dan Hurley. Since Cox’s arrival in Kingston in 2014, Cox has helped lead the Rams to two NCAA Tournament appearances and one National Invitational Tournament appearance. In addition, under Cox URI has won 91 games, the most ever in a four-year stretch in program history.
“I’m ready and anxious to get started as we all together take this program to the next level.” said Cox
URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn spoke at the press conference about Cox’s outstanding leadership skills.
“All he did over the next 10 days was act like a head coach,” Bjorn said. “He made sure the recruits knew what the plan was. As I watched him work as our head coach, he acted that way. I got to see first-hand the leadership. At the end of the day, like the president said, Coach Cox earned the opportunity.”
Cox got a standing ovation as he took the podium for the first time as head coach of the Rams. His parents were in the front row, as well as his wife and two children. The entire men’s basketball team attended the event, with the exception of senior E.C. Matthews.
“I’ve got to tell you, at this very moment, I’m super excited,” Cox said. “This is my dream job, and I am humbled and honored to be here. Humbled and honored. My vision, well, our shared vision, will include success on and off the floor. We will build on the momentum from the past couple years. We will chase A-10 championships.”
Cox got his start coaching in his hometown of Landover, Maryland., at Archbishop Carroll High School. He coached there from 1996 to 1999, then moved on to his alma mater, St. John’s Prep in Washington D.C. where he spent seven years as the assistant principal and supervised the entire athletic department.
From 2007 to 2010, Cox served as an assistant at Georgetown University under John Thompson III, helping guide the Hoyas to three postseason appearances. In 2008, he helped Georgetown compile a 28-6 record while also winning the Big East Championship and claiming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Cox’s last stop before URI was down in Rutgers as the associate head coach, where he helped the program recruit the 15th-best class in the nation for the 2011 season.
Cox has developed a reputation for connecting with players and their families during his 20-year coaching career. One of those connections is Super Bowl-winning and Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who provided quotes for the news conference.
“Teaching is such an important element of coaching, and you can’t connect with your players without the ability to establish personal relationships,” Tomlin said. “These are the things that Dave has always excelled at.”
Tomlin and Cox met at William and Mary University, where they both studied sociology and education. Cox also was a three-year starting point guard, graduating in 1995.
Cox ended his speech with a quote that summed up his feelings about the start of his head coaching career.
“I’m ready and anxious to get started as we all together take this program to the next level.”