SHAWNEE – The winningest coach in Oklahoma Baptist athletics history is stepping away. Bobby Cox, who led the Bison to four NAIA World Series appearances, two NCCAA national championships, a Great American Conference tournament title, and back-to-back NCAA regional berths, announced his decision Friday.
"Coach Cox is one of the finest coaches, and best men, I have ever been around," said OBU athletics director Robert Davenport. "He has been one of the great ambassadors for Oklahoma Baptist University. For over three decades he has led our program with unmatched integrity, earned the respect of his players, coaches and competitors, and won a bunch of ballgames."
With a career record of 1,378-643 (.682), Cox never had a losing season in 35 years at the helm of the OBU baseball team.
He is the only coach to take the Bison to the NAIA World Series, accomplishing the feat in 1989, 1996, 2011, and 2014. The team also reached the NAIA Opening Round in 2012 and 2013.
Competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association during OBU's transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II level, his team won back-to-back NCCAA World Series titles in 2016 and 2017.
After overseeing the program's successful transition to Division II, Cox led the Bison to NCAA Central Regional berths in both of their first two years of NCAA postseason eligibility in 2018 and 2019.
Winner of the program's first GAC tournament title, this season's squad also made history by claiming the program's first NCAA postseason victories while advancing to face defending national champion Augustana in the Central Region I championship game.
During his career on Bison Hill, Cox coached 30 All-Americans, two NAIA Players of the Year, and 22 Major League Baseball draftees. On April 25, pitcher Taylor Hearn became the first former Bison to make his major league debut, starting for the Texas Rangers against the Seattle Mariners.
Cox, who was inducted into OBU's Hall of Fame in 1996 and the NAIA Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, was named Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1986, 1996, 2011, and 2014; District 9 Coach of the Year in 1986, 1989 and 1991; Area 3 Coach of the Year in 1989, Great Plains Region Coach of the Year in 1996 and Region Coach of the Year in 2011. He was named NCCAA Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
As a player for the Bison, Cox was an All-District performer in 1979, leading his team with a .389 batting average while driving in a team-high 33 RBI in 34 games.
"It's hard to sum up 35 years," Cox said. "When I was a player here I told one of my teammates that someday I would love to coach at OBU and run the program. To see that come to fruition and to see where the program has come from to where it is today is just a blessing."
"So many great young men have come through and touched my family's lives," Cox said. "So many great administrators have come through here and made it a dream for me. I never felt like I went to work. It was a labor of love the whole time through.
"I'm just so thankful for everything. My wife, Lyn, worked and raised kids and was our number one fan through it all and was so supportive of everything that we did here. She helped me lay sod on the old field and fix home plate. My kids helped put the slats in the old chain link fences. It was always a family venture.
"Looking back on it, not many people get to live out their dreams as far as work goes. To have been able to do that at an institution that you graduated from – I couldn't have asked for anything more."