The California State Maritime Academy has named Dennis Cox as its new Head Women's Basketball Coach. Cox was the Division II National Coach of the Year in 2011 when his team won the National Championship.
Cox spent the last three seasons in the same position at San Francisco State. Prior to his time with the Gators, he held the same position with Clayton State in Morrow, Georgia. He guided the Lakers to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship and a 267-57 overall record in his 10 years at Clayton State.
"I am thrilled to be named the Head Women's Basketball Coach at Cal Maritime," Cox said. "I'm grateful to President Thomas Cropper, Vice President of Student Affairs Stephen Kreta, and Athletic Director Marv Christopher for the privilege and opportunity to be a part of the Keelhauler family."
During his tenure at Clayton State, Cox guided the Lakers to 10 consecutive 20-plus win seasons including two 30-win seasons. Cox is a three-time winner of the Whack Hyder Award which is given to the state of Georgia's Women's College Coach of the Year. The Lakers went an incredible 96-6 and were ranked first in the nation during three seasons he won the award. During that span, Clayton State's six losses were the second-fewest losses in all of collegiate basketball behind only Baylor University's five.
Athletic Director Marv Christopher is thrilled to add a coach with a record of success at the NCAA D-II level and experience in the bay area.
"Coach Cox brings a great deal of success and experience to our basketball program," Christopher said. "He has experience at many different levels and knowledge of what student athlete will best fit our university and be successful at a Maritime Academy.
"Dennis has been in the bay area for three years now, and has familiarized himself with the various aspects of California recruiting. This knowledge will allow him to recruit freshman as well as junior college players to initiate the rebuilding process and be competitive in the ever-improving Cal Pac Conference."
Cox really likes the group of student athletes he has inherited at Cal Maritime and is eager to put them to work.
"I would like to acknowledge the former staff and express my appreciation for the work they did in attracting so many fine student-athletes to the program," Cox said. "Our first goal with this group is to get them in really good shape physically, in order to give them the best chance to compete with confidence."
His teams won seven Peach Belt Conference championships (2005-07, 2012-14), four Peach Belt Conference tournament championships (2005, 2007, 2010, 2013), four NCAA Division II Regional Championships (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013), and the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship that saw the Lakers dominate throughout the tournament, winning six games by an average of more than 21 points.
Coach Cox says knows it could take time for the Lady Keelhaulers to reach the level of wins his teams attained at Clayton State, but he is ready to instill a culture that will breed success.
"In this first year, our expectation is to work hard every day to become better than we were yesterday, as individuals and as a team," Cox said. "If we will do that, whatever the outcome, we will consider it a successful season, and a winning culture will begin to be established. For the future, we expect that winning attitude to continue to grow and flourish."
Along with being the named the Georgia College Coach of the Year three times, he has been Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year four times, NCAA Division II Southeast Region Coach of the Year three times and National Coach of the Year once.
In 2016 The Peach Belt Athletic Conference celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Coach Cox was one of 25 members elected to the inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Coach Cox embraces the role of mentor to student athletes and knows basketball is only part of the equation when it comes to preparing his students for their future.
"Our challenge will be to earn the trust of our players, so that they know we are here for their growth and development in all areas of their college experience," Cox said. "Certainly we want them to become the best basketball player that they can be, but equally important will be the expectation to become everything a Cal Maritime cadet should represent – a committed, hard-working student, pledged to serving our community, and ultimately becoming a key component to a workplace environment upon graduation."
In addition to his success at Clayton State, he also achieved similar success in his 14 years of coaching at the junior college level in Florida. He is a member of the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) Hall of Fame for his coaching success at both Daytona Beach and Valencia.
Coach Cox majored in Biology at Eckerd College and earned his Master's Degree in Physical Education from the University of Central Florida. He and his wife Ruth reside in Vallejo.