BENTON — New softball coach Heidi Cox is anxious to get underway. Too bad for her, the season doesn’t start until the Spring.
“I almost wish softball was a fall sport, so we could go ahead and get started,” Cox said Thursday night at the Benton High School Cafeteria during a meet and greet for all the parents, fans and players.
“I am excited about taking over,” Cox said.
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.
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.
She was also named 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 said one of the reasons she took the job was to be a head coach again.
Moving over to Benton should be an easy transition for Cox as she will be facing many of the same teams she did while coaching at Texarkana. “I understand that this year, the 6A South is going to be even tougher,” Cox said.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. Ryan was 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.