Kenneth Cox enters his seventh season at Birmingham-Southern College Cross Country/Track & Field, and his sixth year as the head coach. Coach Cox was named head coach of the Men's and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field program after serving as the assistant track & field coach during his first season at 'Southern in 2008-2009.
In his first season on the Hilltop as an Assistant Coach under Lars Porter, Cox helped build the BSC Track and Field program in its second season of competition, and also helped the Cross Country program continue its transition to NCAA Division III. Since he took over the Panthers, both programs have continued their commitment to excellence, both academically and athletically with 30 Dean's list recipients, 35 SCAC and SAA Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll Members, 25 SCAC and SAA All-Sportsmanship Athletes, and over 25 student-athletes finishing in the top 10 performances in the SCAC and SAA respectfully. This Fall 2013, the Lady Panthers were awarded the Top GPA Program award given to the Birmingham-Southern College team with the highest grade point average (3.5).
Under his direction, the Panthers have also positioned themselves as a competitive program in the South/Southeast region and nation. During the 2011 season, the program had three national qualifiers in Tiarra Goode (100, 100H and 200), Jessica Thornton (800) and Robert Willett (800). This amazing accomplishment was carried over to cross country where both Thornton and Willett both earned All-Conference honors by Thornton finishing 11th and Willett as runner up in the men's championship race. During the 2012 Indoor season, Tiarra Goode claimed the first national championship honors in the BSC Division III athletics program era by winning the 60H at the NCAA Indoor Nationals and setting a personal record and new NCAA record en route to her title. Both Jessica Thornton and Robert Willett also claimed All-American Indoor Honors, as well, in the 800.
The 2012 outdoor season marked the most outstanding track and field campaign since the program's inception in 2008. Cox and the Panthers took full advantage of Birmingham-Southern's first full year of NCAA and Conference eligibility. At the SCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the men's team finished second and the women placed fourth. To add to the team performances at the SCAC Championships there were numerous individual accomplishments. BSC fielded 14 conference champions, set five SCAC records, and had 26 All-SCAC athletes.
The Cross Country/Track & Field Panthers continued to build off of their regional and national success as the entered the inaugural season of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) making their mark in the all three seasons. With a fourth-place finish by the men and a sixth-place finish by the women, the teams had an All-Conference runner-up (Willett) and three members finish in the top 20. Willett finished his Cross Country career with a 17th finish at Regionals which helped the men's team to a 14th place finish and a member of the South/Southeast Region Team. The indoor and outdoor seasons were equally as impressive as the Panthers sent two members of their teams to the NCAA Indoor Championships that returned to BSC with All-American honors (Willett finished second in the 800 and Tiarra Goode finished second in the 60H and third in the 60).
In the 2013 SAA Outdoor Championships the Panthers had a third-place finish for both squads collecting a total of 12 conference champions and 22 overall medals, to include one freshman champion (Jordan Frazier, 110H). This success was carried over to the post-season where the Panthers were back again at the NCAA Outdoor Championships as they sent four national qualifiers (Robert Willett in the 800 and national champion, Hank Ballard and Aaron Sherill in the Javelin, and Tiarra Goode in the 100H, 100 and 200).
As well as having success on the track, the Panthers excelled in the classroom in 2011-12, as Cox had 20 athletes named to the SCAC Academic Honor Roll. In addition to conference success, Cox produced two NCAA Outdoor qualifiers in Jessica Thornton and Tiarra Goode. Goode claimed the National Championship in the 100-meter hurdles and finished third in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. These performances by Goode landed her All-American honors in all three events. Other accolades for Goode included being named the South/Southeast Region Female Athlete of the Year and the NCAA Outdoor Championship Female Outstanding Performer. Goode and Thornton guided 'Southern to a sixth-place team finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In total, the Track & Field Panthers have delivered three NCAA Champions in the last three seasons, a total of 16 NCAA All-Americans, three USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Athletes of the Year and six conference Athletes of the Year.
Prior to coming to BSC, Cox, a native of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., served as Athletic Director/Coach/Authorized Representative of Sprint Athletics, Inc., in Atlanta, where he coached track and field at both the youth and elite levels, trained sport-specific speed and conditioning, participated in mentoring and community outreach, and coached and represented six athletes for the 2008 Olympic trials.
In 2006-07, Cox served as the Sprints and Jumps Coach and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Emory University in Atlanta, where he coached the Eagles to their best season since 2004. Highlights from his tenure at Emory include: one NCAA Division III All-American 400-meter runner, seven NCAA Division III qualifiers, six All-UAA conference athletes, eight performances ranking in Emory's all-time individual records, and a UAA Men's Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Cox is a former collegiate 60-, 100- and 200-meter sprinter and native of North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 1999 and was a member of the Men's Track and Field Team and also walked on to the Tar Heel football team in 1997. He competed in the 60 meters (ranked fifth in the ACC in indoor) and 100 meters (outdoor).
After his collegiate athletic career, Cox interned with North Carolina Amateur Sports as the Communications and Special Events Coordinator. In 1999, he completed a summer as the Assistant Manager of Volunteers for the Special Olympics World Games Track and Field Events in Raleigh, N.C.
In 2004, Cox served as the Sprint Coach for the Boys and Girls Track and Field Club of Metro Atlanta, where he coached athletes from ages 8 to 18 in the 100 and 200 meters, and 400-meter relay events. In 2006, he received his Fitness Instructor Training Association (FITA) certification and his USA Weightlifting (USAW) Club coaching certification in Olympic lifting.
Cox attended Fuquay-Varina Senior High School in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., where he was a three-letter varsity athlete and was named All-Conference Wide Receiver in football and All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State in Track and Field (both indoor and outdoor) as a 100- and 200-meter sprinter after finishing second in both events at 1995 3A state championship. In his senior year at Fuquay-Varina, Cox broke, and currently holds, the school record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.5 and the 3-A Regional record. He also was named 1994-95 Athlete of the Year by the conference and High School Coaches Association. The demands of his high school years also consisted of his participation as a competitive Junior Olympic sprinter where he won several state, regional, and national medals.
Cox currently serves as the South/Southeast Region Representative for USTFCCCA and Executive Committee Championships Site Committee Chair (effective Feb. 2014) in addition to holding USATF Level II Certifications in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays, Jumps, Endurance and USATF Level I Instructor. He is married to the former Leesha Ellis, M.D., M.P.H., and the couple has a seven-year-old daughter, Bailey Madison, a four-year-old son, Evan Miles, and a newborn daughter, Khloe Emerson.