URI Names Cox as Next Men’s Basketball Coach
Thursday, April 05, 2018
GoLocalProv Sports Team
"This is a dream come true. Navigating the landscape of coaching at the collegiate level has been a long, hard journey. I was blessed to have made it here four years ago, and to have had the opportunity to work with people like President Dooley and Thorr Bjorn, while building this program to where it is now. I am extremely excited, blessed and humbled to be able to lead this program to new heights," said Cox in a press release.
Cox, who served as the associate head coach under Dan Hurley, takes over the head coaching position after Hurley left for UConn, as GoLocalProv first reported.
The announcement comes two days after GoLocalProv reported that President David Dooley shot it down the hiring of Rick Pitino.
Cox has been with URI since 2014 and was promoted to the associate head coaching position in 2016 by Hurley.
He is a proven recruiter at Georgetown, Pitt, and Rutgers and is responsible for recruits such as Jeff Dowtin, Fatts Russell and incoming freshman Jermaine Harris at URI.
Prior to his time at URI, Cox was the associate head coach at Rutgers, helping the program recruit the 15th best class in 2011.
He served as the interim head coach for a three-game period in 2002, going 3-0 in that time.
Prior to Rutgers, Cox was an assistant coach at Georgetown, after spending time as the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Pittsburgh.
URI in 2017-18
The Rams are coming off a season in which they won the A-10 regular season championship for the first time in program history.
They got to the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the second round of the tournament for the second straight year, before losing to Duke.
"Nothing will change that mindset moving forward. We have won Atlantic 10 championships and NCAA tournament games in the last two years. That is now the bar. Moving forward, our goal is to repeat as A-10 champions, get back to the NCAA tournament and make an even deeper run. Year after year, we are going to recruit at the highest level possible and continue to attract top-100 players, high-major players and players with high character who fit our culture," said Cox.
David Cox - a front-runner
The top assistant to Hurley has a provision in his contract -- a water-downed successor clause that if he is not selected URI must pay him a fee.
Strengths: A proven recruited at Georgetown, Pitt, and Rutgers.
Weaknesses: No head coaching experience except high school and three fill-in games at Rutgers. Remember Jerry DeGregorio - elevated assistant, good recruiter? How did that work out? Answer: 12-48
John Becker - safe pick
Becker has been very successful at Vermont and a winner.
In six seasons he has guided the Catamounts to six 20-win seasons, six straight postseason berths (NCAA twice, NIT, CBI – three times).
Strengths: Proven head coach. A proven winner at a lower conference.
Weaknesses: The safe pick. The next Jim Baron?
Preston Murphy - the prodigal son
Assistant Coach at Creighton. URI grad and former star. Left URI under a little bit of a cloud when he demanded a successor clause to Hurley.
Strengths: Knows URI. Fan favorite.
Weaknesses: No head coaching experience. Think Claude English.
Rick Pitino - radioactive
Maybe of the most successful basketball coaches in the sport's history. A showman and a press magnet. He would make URI one of the most watched programs in the country. Pitino at URI would drive PC fans crazier than when he jumped from Kentucky to rival Louisville.
Strengths: Multiple NCAA Championships. Hall of Fame. Proven recruiter. NBA experience.
Weaknesses: Program tied to prostitution and illegal payments.
Ryan Odom - the flavor of the month
His #16 Seed win over #1 Virginia made UMBC a national fan favorite. He is 46-24 at UMBC, but was just 8-11 as acting head coach at Charlotte.
Strengths: Bright future. A proven winner at a lower conference.
Weaknesses: One game does not make a career.
Tommy Amaker - missing the Big Time?
He looked like he was going to be a big-time coach, but stints at Michigan and Seton Hall did not work out very well.
In the 10 seasons since taking over at Harvard Amaker has reinvented the Crimson into an "Ivy League power" but playing in front of 1,500 can be a little depressing.
Does he have something to prove?
Strengths: Proven recruiter getting top 100 recruits at Harvard.
Weaknesses: Couldn't make it happen in the top-tier leagues
Nate Oats - wanted man
Part of the Hurley family. He was an assistant to Danny Hurley at Buffalo and was elevated to the number one slot and has done nothing but win since taking over.
Said to be one of the candidates for the Pitt job if Sean Miller is not their guy.
Strengths: One of the hottest young coaches in America.
Weaknesses: Does he need to stop in Kingston?
Craig Robinson - White House to the Ryan Center
Today, he is the VP of player development. A job that may be like trying to row up the Niagra Falls. Was a hot commodity after his success at Brown University -- was offered both the PC and the Oregon St. jobs. Had a frustrating stint at OSU -- just like every other coach there in modern basketball.
Strengths: more contacts at all levels of basketball, politics, and finance than the rest of the state of RI combined. May miss coaching basketball and did love living in RI.
Weaknesses: Does he want to hustle to recruit 18-year-olds?