The University of Rhode Island announced David Cox as the 20th men’s basketball head coach in its program history Friday afternoon. A press conference to officially welcome Cox will be held Friday, April 6 at 11 a.m. in the Alumni Lounge of the Ryan Center.
“The University of Rhode Island is pleased to name David Cox as the new head coach of our men’s basketball program,” URI President David M. Dooley said. “David has been an integral part of building our men’s basketball program to where it is today, and with his work ethic and high character, we believe he was the best person to keep us as a premiere team in the Atlantic 10 for years to come.”
Cox – who spent the last four seasons at Rhode Island as the associate head coach – earned the job following an exhaustive national search. His contract is a five-year deal for $700,000 per year.
“This is an important transition period for our basketball program, and we did our due diligence to make sure we hired the right person for the job,” Rhode Island Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn said. “David’s professionalism and leadership ability earned him the position. I am thrilled to continue to build the Rhode Island basketball brand by partnering with a wonderful coach, mentor and teacher.”
Since Cox came to URI in May of 2014, the Rams have made two NCAA Championship appearances and one NIT appearance, advancing to the second round all three times. Rhode Island also claimed the program’s first Atlantic 10 regular season title in 2018 and its second conference tournament title in 2017. Rhody has won 91 games since Cox joined the staff, the most ever in a four-year stretch in program history.
“This is a dream come true. Navigating the landscape of coaching at the collegiate level has been a long, hard journey,” Cox said. “I was blessed to have made it here four years ago, and to have had the opportunity to work with people like President Dooley and Thorr Bjorn, while building this program to where it is now. I am extremely excited, blessed and humbled to be able to lead this program to new heights.”
In November, Cox was ranked as the No. 23 assistant coach in the country by LockDraft.com. During his time at URI, Cox has been instrumental in the recruitment of Indiana transfer Stanford Robinson, guards Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell as well as center Michael Tertsea. He also was the primary recruiter for three members of the 2018 class – Jermaine Harris, Brendan Adams and Tyrese Martin. That class was ranked as a top 25 class nationally.
“I have always had the drive inside of me to do more, to achieve and to excel,” Cox said. “Nothing will change that mindset moving forward. We have won Atlantic 10 championships and NCAA tournament games in the last two years. That is now the bar. Moving forward, our goal is to repeat as A-10 champions, get back to the NCAA tournament and make an even deeper run. Year after year, we are going to recruit at the highest level possible and continue to attract top-100 players, high-major players and players with high character who fit our culture.”
Before coming to Rhode Island, Cox was the associate head coach at Rutgers, where he helped the program recruit the 15th-best class in 2011. He served as the interim head coach for a three-game stint in December 2012, guiding the Scarlet Knights to a 3-0 record.
From 2007-10, Cox served as an assistant at Georgetown under John Thompson III, helping guide the Hoyas to a trio of postseason appearances. In 2007-08, Georgetown compiled a 28-6 overall record en route to winning the Big East Championship and earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 2009-10 Hoya squad also won 28 games and made an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Cox entered the college ranks as the director of basketball operations at for Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh before the 2006-07 season, and was part of a Panthers’ team that went 29-8 as part of a Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
A native of Landover, Md., Cox first coached at the high school level at Archbishop Carroll in Washington, D.C. from 1996-99. He spent the next seven years as an assistant principal at his alma mater, St. John’s Prep in Washington, D.C., from 1999-2006. There, he oversaw the school’s athletic department, supervised all extra-curricular activities, and served as the school’s head of discipline.
Cox began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Washington D.C. Assault AAU program. He helped guide the team to the under-16 national championship in 2004. Several of his players earned college scholarships, including Tre Kelley (South Carolina), Chris McCray (Maryland), Michael Beasley (Kansas State/Miami Heat), Nolan Smith (Duke), Dante Cunningham (Villanova/Portland Trail Blazers), Arinze Onuaku (Syracuse) and Adrian Bowie (Maryland).
Cox was a four-year letter-winner, and three-year starting point guard, for head coaches Chuck Swenson and Charlie Woollum at William & Mary. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in Sociology.