BY: RICHARD SPEAS, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS & STUDENT LIFE
NCTC and Thief River Falls welcome the Pioneers new head football coach, Jim Cox.
No stranger to the Midwest, Cox grew up on a farm near Bedford, Iowa. Growing up, Jim looked up to his older brother, Howard, who was a junior college athlete who competed in football and baseball at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. Drafted during the Vietnam conflict, Howard enlisted in the US marines and was sent to Southeast Asia. Espousing that all he ever wanted to do was to return home and coach college, Howard’s dream would never be realized. Howard was killed during the Tet Offensive in 1968. His death served as a motivation and platform for his younger brother, Jim, to become a college coach, and fulfill his brother’s goals while building a legacy of his own.
Familiarity with the Midwest work ethic, and the patriotic spirit of rural America, Jim Cox has left a legacy of helping young people through his coaching. “Faith, Family, and Football are deeply entwined in Americana,” noted Coach Cox. Growing up in a small town in the heartland was a great experience, as I played four sports in high school,” commented Cox.
With a thorough understanding and passion for athletics from being a four-sport athlete in high school, Cox utilized this to rise into the coaching world. Cox rose through the ranks, starting out as a high school head football coach in Paton-Churdan High School, he won two state championships, and added a state track championship as well. Moving into the college ranks, Cox served as an assistant on the 1989 Ellsworth Community College (IA) football team that played in the national championships game, falling to Navarro College (TX). After serving as an assistant coach at various four year institutions, Cox took over the reigns as the head football coach at William Penn University (IA) from 2001-2005, transforming the Statesmen from cellar dwellers to a highly competitive program. Following a one year stint at Southeast Missouri State University (NCAA Division I), Cox would move into professional indoor arena football. After serving as an assistant with the St. Charles River Rage in the St. Louis metro area, Cox was named the Director of Operations and Head Football Coach for the River Rage(2008). Most recently, Cox has served as a football consultant with former NFL player, Willie Shields.
Taking the reins of the Pioneer football program is not one without challenges. With 40 years of football in the rearview mirror, NCTC has produced only 12 winning seasons in program history. Coach Jim Cox seeks to bring a new culture to the football program, and provide a quality program for the Thief River Falls community.