For over 30 years, John Cox has been the voice of the Golden Eagle football program. Win or lose, his voice is synonymous to Golden Eagle football.
The Middletown, Ohio native came to Southern Miss for school and received his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film in 1978. Just four years later, Cox became the director of sports broadcasting for the university and first broadcasted the same famous voice he uses to this day.
Cox is a six-time Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year, winning over names such as David Kellum, who broadcasts play-by-play for Ole Miss, and the late Stan Sandroni, who strolled the sidelines of Ole Miss football games.
Cox does not just do football though. He also broadcasts men’s basketball and baseball. Cox actually did not initially do live broadcasts, doing delayed play-by-play for the Golden Eagles men’s basketball team from 1978 to 1981. His dedication to keep with the program is what separates Cox from his peers.
“I love Southern Miss and I’ve been here—counting being a student—42 years,” Cox said. “I love (Southern Miss) because they helped my dream come true.”
Along with broadcasting his voice on the airwaves, he hosts Southern Miss Sports Today show with guests such as Todd Monken, head basketball coach Doc Sadler and Athletic Director Bill McGillis.
During this new era of Southern Miss football, change is everywhere. A new cutting edge logo combined with new bold uniforms gives way to a sense of change for the Southern Miss fan base.
“I think (the logo) was designed in a way to capture the spirit of Southern Miss,” Cox said. “I think it represents what Southern Miss is all about.”
Obviously in recent memory, Southern Miss has had its struggles on the football field. Cox has seen the many ups and downs in the program, so his optimism is warranted.
“Anytime you’re around a program for a long time, there are going to be ups and downs. What makes Southern Miss so unique is the way everybody has pulled together even in the down times.” – Cox
From Brett Favre to Reggie Collier, to Khyri Thornton and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, the Southern Miss program has always put talent in the top ranks of professional football. The preparation of the coaching staff and the environment in Hattiesburg leads them to showcasing that top-tier talent for their respective teams.
“Anyone that is lucky enough to play here will tell you that the lessons that they learned here propelled them to play professional football,” Cox said. “Anyone from Brett Favre on down will tell you that the things they learned at Southern Miss prepared them when they got to the NFL.”
This season, Southern Miss is looking to buck the trend and silence the critics. That same positive attitude cannot be heard from all fans, though. Cox believes that even if the wins do not pile up, the season should not be viewed as a disappointment.
“The reason for success in this season has nothing to do with wins and losses,” Cox said. “I’ve been around the team and I know that they will go out and play hard every week.”
It all starts with Monken. The morale of the team and the fan base of Southern Miss is looking for results this year, especially in the showdown against Mississippi State. Just in his third year at the helm of the rejuvenation of the Southern Miss program, it is time to turn the ship around.
“I think (Todd) Monken’s philosophy fits into what Southern Miss has done for a long time,” Cox said. “I think he thinks that if his guys are successful in the classroom that they will be successful on the field.”
There has not been a better voice to show what Southern Miss is all about besides Cox. A supporter since the days of Ray Guy and before, he sees the turnaround coming and has the same optimism as the most die-hard fan.
Giving a voice to the Southern Miss fans will always be a duty that Cox will hold from generation to generation.