The home of the Mariners’ basketball teams will have a new name Saturday.
College of Coastal Georgia will honor former men’s basketball coach Gerald F. Cox by naming the court in the Howard Coffin Gymnasium the Coach Gerald Cox Court during a ceremony before the men’s basketball team’s game against Florida Memorial at 4 p.m.
“We are proud to honor Coach Cox who has given so much of himself to the College and to the young men and women he has influenced throughout his career,” said Coastal Georgia director of athletics William Carlton in a statement. “His service made an indelible impact on the campus and community.
“We are proud that the court where he spent so much of his time will bear his name. This is a well-deserved and well-earned recognition for an outstanding coach and a true gentleman.”
Over a 32-year career, Cox served in several roles for the college, including: director of athletics and Physical Education instructor in addition to his coaching duties, and he made a last impact in the lives of hundreds of students during that span.
From 1982 through 2011, Cox guided the Mariners to seven Georgia College Athletic Association conference championships when Coastal Georgia was still competing as a junior college, and two of those teams (1986, 2002) advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NJCAA national championship tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
In 1991, the Mariners posted the program’s best record of 27-7 en route to the conference championship and a national tournament bid.
Previously, Cox was the head coach at Truett -McConnell for eight years before taking over at Piedmont High in Monroe, N.C. Following three years in the prep ranks, Cox was hired at then-Brunswick Junior College.
Upon his retirement in 2014, Cox’s teams had compiled a 497-453 record with the Mariners, prompting the school to name him “Men’s Basketball Head Coach Emeritus” in recognition of his contributions to the college and community.
Now, he’ll be honored in front of the same community by a Mariners team now led by one of Cox’s former players, Jesse Watkins.
“I am honored to be a part of something special,” said Watkins, who played under Cox at Coastal Georgia from 1990-92 before returning to serve as an assistant for two seasons. “The dedication of my mentor, teacher and good friend Coach Gerald Cox. He spent his career sharing life’s victories and life’s defeats together with us. He taught us about hard work and commitment, about respect and responsibility, about accountability, perseverance, and self-discipline-all great things we can learn from this sport as a team that we could and should use for the rest of our lives.
“He truly helped us build our lives into what we are today. He taught us how to love God, family, friends, teammates and yourself while you strive to be your best. Thank you to my coach and more so a good friend.”