By Doug Gorman
Dennis Cox, the new women's basketball coach at Clayton State, shares something in common with Gordon Gibbons, the school's men's basketball coach.
Both arrived at Clayton State after successful stints in the college ranks in Florida.
Cox hopes to copy Gibbons' success by turning the Lady Lakers into a Peach Belt Conference contender.
Hiring Cox to take over for A.C. McCuller's, who resigned earlier this year, was a logical decision for Clayton State.
In his most recent coaching stop, Cox compiled a 147-41 record at Daytona Beach Community College. Along the way, Cox's teams won three Mid-Florida Conference titles, a Mid-Florida Conference tournament and a state-runner up finish.
His best team finished fourth in the 2002-2003 national tournament.
During a meet and greet session with faculty members, students and Clayton State fans, Cox spoke enthusiastically about his hopes for turning the Lady Lakers into a Peach Belt Conference contender.
"We are excited about the chance to do our thing at a little bit higher level," Cox said. "I've been at the junior college for 15 years, I've built a couple of programs, and we believe in the way we to things. We are excited about the chance to do it at this level. We just felt so comfortable here. (Athletic Director) Mason Barfield has been great, he is a really solution type of guy, and I really appreciate that style."
Cox has already established a friendship with Gibbons.
"I've seen what coach Gibbons has done in a short period of time, and I just hope we can have similar success," he said. "Coach Gibbons and I know a lot of the same people from Central Florida, so it's really good to be able to talk with him. When you are sharing a facility, it's important to have a good relationship with your men's basketball coach."
Cox loves using Clayton State's proximity to Atlanta as a selling point for bringing in future talent. He also knows about the talent coming out of the metro area.
"Atlanta is a hot city," he said. "There are great opportunities for young people, so in a lot of ways I see a lot of similarities between Daytona Beach and Atlanta in the terms of a recruit ability of an athlete."
Most of Cox's players will probably come from the southeast, but his team will also have an international player or two.
"I have some Division I coaches who have connections to the international players, but they can't have them all. The neat thing about the international kids is they don't care if it's the University of Georgia or Clayton State," he said.
"They just want to be taken care of, and be happy, and play American basketball."