Cox to retire as superintendent

Longtime Russellville football coach and administrator Don Cox will retire in March 2011, leaving his post as city schools superintendent after two years.

Don Cox

Cox, who spent 15 years as Russellville’ head football coach, was named superintendent in January 2009. He also served as the high school assistant principal for 15 years, principal for five years and eight as administrative assistant in the central office.

Cox notified the school board on Monday that he planned to announce his retirement during Thursday’s school board meeting. He also sent an email to school employees ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

“I have always believed that a person would know when it’s time to retire,” Cox said.

“For me, that time has come.”

In a letter to the school board, Cox said he believed the timing of his retirement would be best for him and the school system.

“To move a school system forward in these difficult times, a superintendent must have the trust and support of the school board,” the letter stated.

“Even though I have another year on my contract, I feel the decision to retire now is the best decision for me personally and the best decision for the school system. As another superintendent said in a recent retirement interview, ‘never compromise your values or beliefs to be a superintendent.’

“Every decision I recommended was what I believed to be the best for our students, our employees and our school system.”

Cox came to Russellville in 1980 following successful coaching stints in Brilliant and Dora.

He was the assistant principal, athletic director and head football coach in Russellville until 1994, when he resigned as football coach to become the school’s principal.

He is the school’s all-time winningest coach and led the Golden Tigers to state championship game appearances in 1987 and 1992.

“All I ever wanted to do was coach,” Cox said. “It wasn’t until I got older and moved into administration that my goals changed.”

One of those goals, he said, was to carry on the tradition of excellence that had been established in the city school system.

“I think I did all I could to help carry that tradition on, whether it was when I was a football coach, principal, administrative assistant or as superintendent.”

Cox said state budget cuts and issues with local funding have made the job as superintendent more difficult.

“To continue the tradition of excellence in Russellville City Schools will be a major challenge for this system,” he said.

“It will require the city council, the school board, administrators, teachers, parents and the community working together to continue the traditions Russellville has enjoyed since 1929.”

When Cox officially leaves office March 31, 2011, he will have spent 40 years in education, including more than 31 in Russellville.

“I love Russellville,” he said, “This is my home and I will always try to do what I can to help this school system and the community. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I had ended up somewhere else.”

Cox, an avid fisherman, now looks to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.

“You have to make a lot of sacrifices as a coach and an administrator and your family has to make many of those same sacrifices,” Cox said.

“Now, I hope I can be a better granddaddy and husband and do some of the things I enjoy.”

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