Robert M. (Bobby) Cox, who excelled as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator during a 31-year career in interscholastic athletics and educational administration, today was named the next commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.
Cox, 53, has been an IHSAA assistant commissioner since 2000. He will officially succeed Blake Ress as IHSAA commissioner on February 1, 2011. Ress announced his intentions to retire on June 25, 2010 and will leave the position after 10½ years at the helm of the IHSAA.
Cox will be the eighth person to serve as IHSAA commissioner. He follows Blake Ress (2000-2011), Bob Gardner (1995-2000), C. Eugene Cato (1983-1995), Ward E. Brown (1976-1983), Phil N. Eskew (1962-1976), L.V. Phillips (1945-1962) and Arthur L. Trester (1929-1945).
“Mr. Cox has proven leadership skills that he has developed during his career – especially during the past 10 years as assistant commissioner,” said Geoff Penrod, athletic director of Columbia City High School and chairman of the IHSAA Executive Committee. “He has strong vision for the IHSAA: respecting the past, facing the challenges of the present, and is ready to embrace the unknown of the future. We are excited and look forward to working with Bobby as the new commissioner.”
Since joining the IHSAA, Cox has been responsible for football, boys’ golf, boys’ and girls’ track and field, and wrestling. He is a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee and currently serves as the Chairman of the Research Subcommittee. Previously, he served as a member of the NFHS Coaches’ Education committee from 2002-2006. Additionally, Cox serves as an advisor to the Commission on Sports Medicine of the Indiana State Medical Association.
“I am humbled and honored to be named the eighth commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association,” said Cox. “I look forward to working along with Commissioner Ress in executing a smooth transition as he concludes his distinguished career in education. It is with great anticipation and hope that I look ahead to the future of education-based athletics in our state and the opportunity to serve both our membership and the thousands of high school students that participate in our programs.”
“The membership of the IHSAA and the student-athletes we serve are facing tremendous challenges unlike any before,” Cox said. “Our member schools strive to provide quality programming with ever shrinking resources while our student-athletes enter into a global society which is the most competitive in history. Our mission must be one of collaboration with our constituents to facilitate every potential opportunity for our young people to continue to experience and enjoy the positive values gained from interscholastic participation.”
“The quality of the candidates that the committee interviewed for the Commissioner’s position was excellent and I congratulate the Committee on successfully completing a daunting task," said Blake Ress. “I am genuinely pleased that the Executive Committee has chosen Bobby Cox to be the next commissioner. He has been a hard working, loyal, and dedicated assistant commissioner who is deserving of this opportunity. The public as well as the membership will find Bobby to be a personable, intelligent leader who embraces technology and is a good problem-solver."
Prior to joining the IHSAA, Cox had spent 21 years as a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator in the Carmel Clay Schools. He served as athletics and activities director at Clay Junior High from 1990-97, and as the athletic director at Carmel High School from 1997-2000. At Carmel High School, his responsibilities included management of 54 athletic teams and 97 coaches who annually served more than 1,100 student-athletes. During his tenure as Carmel High School athletic director, he served as the host administrator for numerous IHSAA tournament events, including the cross country and softball state finals.
Professionally, he has completed coursework to earn the designation of Certified Athletic Administrator by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Cox is a graduate of Carmel High School, where he participated in cross country and track and field. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from Butler University in 1979 and a master’s degree in secondary education from Butler in 1987.
Cox and his wife, Kathy, the athletic director at Clay Middle School, reside in Carmel.