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New Lady Lakers basketball coach named

From staff reports

Clayton College & State University athletic director Mason Barfield has named Dennis Cox CCSU's fifth head women's basketball coach. Cox takes the helm of the NCAA Division II basketball program after former coach A.C. McCullers resigned earlier this year.

Cox served the last six years as the head coach at Daytona Beach Community College in Daytona, Fla., where he compiled a 147-41 record, won three Mid-Florida Conference championships, a Mid-Florida Conference Tournament championship and had a state runner-up finish.

His top season at Daytona Beach came as recent as the 2002-03 campaign when his Falcons finished fourth in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association final poll with a 29-2 record. Last year with 14 new players, he still managed to lead his squad to an impressive 19-10 record.

"We are fortunate to have someone with Dennis Cox's experience and success join us at Clayton State," said athletic director Mason Barfield. "Success at the college level relies heavily on recruitment, and Dennis brings us a wealth of knowledge in recruiting the Southeast with his many contacts that encompass the high school, junior college and Division I level. He is the person to elevate our women's program to a national level."

Said Cox, "We are so excited about the opportunity presented to us at Clayton State. We are anxious to get started and grateful for the quality of players that are already in place and determined to get the most we can out of this experienced group. For the future and from a recruiting standpoint, I feel very good about the quality of the package that we can offer a student-athlete at Clayton State."

Cox was named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Region IX Coach of the Year in 2003 and has been named the Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year on three different occasions.

Prior to his six seasons at Daytona Beach, Cox served as the head coach at Valencia Community College in Orlando for eight years. He began the program at Valencia and compiled a 144-97 record, including four seasons with 20 or more wins and three state tournament appearances.

"It is very tough to leave behind the program that we were given the opportunity to build at DBCC," said Cox. "But we are looking forward to working hard to achieve the same results at Clayton State."

During his junior college tenure at Daytona and Valencia, 44 out of his 58 sophomores graduated and most continued their basketball careers at NCAA Division I and II programs. Cox has former players at Alabama, Charlotte, the University of Texas El Paso, Florida Atlantic, Augusta State, Columbus State, Kennesaw State and Francis Marion.

After coaching high school boys for the first eight years of his career, Cox had his first experience coaching women's basketba ll at Lake Highland Prep School in Orlando. He led the Lady Highlanders to district and region titles in 1987-88, compiling a 39-17 record in two years before moving onto Valencia.

Cox received a B.S. degree in biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was captain of the basketball team his senior year. He later earned a master's degree in exercise physiology and wellness from the University of Central Florida. Before attending Eckerd, Cox attended the United States Air Force Academy where he played intercollegiate baseball. He and his wife Dawn have seven children and six grandchildren. Their oldest son, Dino, lives in Honolulu with his wife Joycelyn and their four children, Thurston, Valentino, Jordan, and Deanna. Their oldest daughter Leslie and her husband Caine live in Orlando with their children, Morgan and Tyler. Their other children are Jennifer, Kristopher, Alison, Ashley, and Jaclyn.

After finishing the 2002-03 season a 16-11 season, the Clayton State women's team finished 2003-04 year with a 10-18 record.