The good news continues to pour in for Rhody basketball fans. According to several tweets and published reports, Dan Hurley has tabbed former Rutgers assistant David Cox to replace Preston Murphy as Rhode Island’s assistant coach. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the first to report the news via Twitter.
URI's Dan Hurley has hired David Cox as an assistant to replace Preston Murphy, sources told @CBSSports. Strong move. Big DC ties.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 2, 2014
If you didn’t know much about Cox as of yesterday (we’ll fully admit to being part of this crowd), it was a welcome sight to see all the national love that this hire was getting. To wit:
Strong hire for Rhody and @dhurley15 as Cox is a good man with ties to the DMV area.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 3, 2014
Dan Hurley and URI with a strong hire to staff in David Cox. Replaces Preston Murphy — who left for BC.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 3, 2014
Love the David Cox hire by Rhode Island. Big-time ties in the mid-Atlantic/DC.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 3, 2014
Now for a little background on the Washington, DC native. Cox spent the last four seasons with Rutgers, under former head coach (and noted a-hole) Mike Rice, and more recently under new head coach Eddie Jordan. He also served as interim head coach after Rice’s firing.
Cox was the token “fall guy”, as he was fired following the Scarlet Knights’ 92-31 loss to Louisville in the first round of this year’s AAC Tournament. Because, come on, 92-31? A head needed to roll for that one, and Cox was the unlucky candidate.
Prior to Rutgers, Cox spent three seasons at Georgetown under head coach John Thompson III. He also served as Director of Basketball Operations at Pittsburgh under Jamie Dixon for the 2006-07 season.
So what does this hire mean? Chris DiSano summed it up nicely in a piece for Cox Sports (no relation):
To attract and secure an assistant of Cox’s pedigree is a boon. Hurley was no doubt impressed by Cox’s experience as an interim head coach, professionalism, and ability to captain the Rutgers program during turbulent periods. According to those who know Cox, his refined yet affable personality acquits him well in various roles (on court, administratively, with media, as a recruiter, as a mentor). He has tutored future NBAers and has proven his mettle at high level programs. Cox also enjoys an outstanding relationship with Rhode Island rising senior Gil Biruta, whom he coached while at Rutgers.
Future NBAers, indeed. Michael Beasley and Nolan Smith are just two of the many notable stars that Cox has worked with. Here’s hoping he has another ace (or two) up his sleeve, as the Rams still have two open scholarships for the 2014-15 season.