Heidi Cox, the new Benton softball coach, will be introduced to the public Thursday night at 8 p.m. in the Benton High School Cafeteria.
“I thought she has a proven background not only as a player at the collegiate level, but the 6A Level and the 6A South Conference,” Benton athletic director Steve Quinn said. “She is a quality person with a good family and a good work ethic,” Quinn. “I felt like she will be a good asset to the community and school district.”
Cox is a graduated of Arkansas High School in Texarkana.
She played softball at Texarkana Community College, where she was an All-Region Honorable Mention outfielder and played in the Texas Junior College All-Star Game.
After transferring to the University of Arkansas-Monticello, she played on two Gulf South Conference West Division Championship teams leading the league in 2001 and 2002.
“Her background not only as a hitter and hitting coach is something that I felt was a strong asset,” Quinn said.
“She has worked under some very good coaches as well as being a head coach herself.”
She was also a student assistant for the 2003 Gulf South Conference West Division Championship team.
During her playing tenure, she was named First-Team All-Conference and First Team All Region in both 2001 and 2002 and Third-Team All American in 2002 and in 2001 was named to the Gulf South All-Tournament Team.
A three-time GSC West Division Player of the Week, she was selected to the UAM Hall of Fame in 2008.
Following a successful playing career, Cox served as a student assistant for the UAM Cotton Blossoms 2003 GSC West Division Championship Team before moving to Arkansas High School to assume duties as assistant softball coach.
In 2004, she was promoted to head softball coach and served as the 6A Conference chair.
During her tenure, the softball program advanced to the state playoffs four times and was named 6A South Conference Coach of the Year in 2007.
In 2009, Cox coached at Texas High and served as the Assistant Softball Coach and Assistant Volleyball Coach.
Cox was hired after former coach Eric Ryan resigned from the position on July 11.
The decision to hire Cox was made official on July 28 during a special Benton School Board meeting.
Ryan accepted a position at Sttugart High School to teach math.
“I had a chance to come home and be around my parents,” Ryan said.
“This is where I grew up. My parents are getting up there in age and I want to be close to them.”
Ryan also said one of the other factors for leaving Benton was his daughter, who is 11 years-old.
“I’m spending a lot more time with other kids than I was with my own,” Ryan said. “I needed to free up some time to spend with her.” Ryan said, as of right now, he will not be coaching at Sttugart.
Ryan has been the head coach for the Lady Panthers since 2005 and has lead the squad to the state championship — including one state championship — four of those six years.
The Lady Panthers defeated Bryant in 2005 to win the 5A State Championship.
Ryan said he did not get a chance to meet with the players one last time, as his decision to resign came late in the season.
He said he did call a couple of the older players to let them know.