EWU alumnus shot to the top during time at Eastern Washington


Photo contributed by David Cook of EWU Athletics

In his college days, Ron Cox averaged 16.4 points per game at Eastern.

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

Eagle men’s basketball legend to retire his jersey at Reese Court

Four-time All-American and Eastern’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder will have his No. 30 jersey retired on March 8.

“It’s kind of a hard thing to really kind of express,” former Eastern basketball center Ron Cox said. “I think it’ll probably be a little bit more emotionally packed maybe [during] that evening.”

Cox played for four years at Eastern from 1973-1977 where he was a first team NAIA All-District No. 1 pick and team MVP during his final three years as an Eagle. Cox averaged 16.4 points and 12 rebounds for his career. He has an overall scoring total of 1,241 points and an overall rebounding total of 1,273 for his career at Eastern.

“Having his records still stand after 35 years of scoring and rebounding for a Division I athletic program is pretty impressive,” director of athletics Bill Chaves said. “I think just being able to really shine a light on that accomplishment helps not only the university, but also him being a local Eastern Washington person should help the region as well.”

Cox played high school basketball, football and baseball at Coulee City High School in Coulee City, Wash. During high school, his basketball team went to the state tournament all four years of his high school career. Cox averaged 25 points per game and 20 rebounds, while shooting 65 percent during his senior year of high school.

After high school, Cox had multiple options before he chose Eastern for his college career. “My senior year, I was recruited to various schools,” Cox said. “I was recruited to [Washington State University] for football, I was recruited to Eastern for football.”

“I was recruited to Eastern, Central and Western, all for basketball,” Cox said. “I had a choice of places to go and what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to play basketball and it just seemed like it was the right fit for me.”

Cox chose basketball over football due to his brother being an All-American basketball player. So he went that route, for he had stronger feelings about wanting to play basketball over football.

The teams Cox played for during his years at Eastern had an overall record of 77-30. Over that time, Cox built negative and positive memories he had playing on those teams. “We were one of the best teams in the district,” Cox said. “But, only one team went to the nationals and my junior and senior year both times we lost in the championship game, so those are tough memories, but they’re great memories too.”

“I think more of my memories kind of are focused on the guys that I’ve played with and my coaches and the experience that I had here overall as an athlete,” Cox said.

Cox has a special group of people that has had a big impact on his success as an athlete. “I would have to thank my wife, I’ve been married for 40 years,” Cox said. “And of course my college coaches that spent hours with me.”

According to assistant athletic director for media relations Dave Cook, retiring a jersey is not something that happens on a regular basis. But only for the athletes that deserve it the most. “For Ron [Cox], this is kind of the ultimate honor that he could pretty much win at Eastern,” Cook said. “We knew he was one of our all time greats.”

Cox made good first impressions on Chaves and Cook. Each of them had their own views on what type of person Cox is.

“Incredibly warm, and just, I think, humble,” Chaves said. “Those would be the two words that kind of describe Ron, but I’m sure in his day [he was] extremely competitive.”

“He’s a tremendous human being, I just have a lot of respect for him and his family,” Cook said. “Eastern Washington is his home, [it will] always be his home, he loves this area, he loves this school and he’s just the epitome of somebody you want representing your university.”