Schenectady’s Cox set to coach in NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament

An assistant now at Robert Morris, Cox previously played and coached for UAlbany
Tim Cox, a Schenectady native and former UAlbany lacrosse player, is now a coach at Robert Morris.
Tim Cox, a Schenectady native and former UAlbany lacrosse player, is now a coach at Robert Morris.

When the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team was announced Sunday night as the No. 2 seed for the NCAA tournament, everyone at the Robert Morris selection show viewing party turned toward assistant coach Tim Cox.

“And I was getting a little nervous,” said Cox, a Schenectady native. “One hundred percent. We all thought we were playing them.”

Minutes later, though, Cox — a former UAlbany player and coach — and Robert Morris found out they were instead headed to compete in the tournament’s play-in game against Canisius.

That placement brought disappointment for Robert Morris, but relief for Cox, who was a captain for UAlbany during his 2015 senior season and a volunteer assistant for the Great Danes in 2016.

“Casey Stadium would have been incredible for our guys to play in,” Cox said, “but it would have been tough, though, to knock off the Danes.”

Instead, Robert Morris plays 4 p.m. Wednesday in the tournament’s play-in game against a Canisius squad it topped 11-9 in the regular season. The winner of that game plays noon Sunday at No. 1 Maryland. (UAlbany also played Canisius this season, winning 19-11.)

Robert Morris went 12-4 during the regular season and won the Northeast Conference tournament championship to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Most had thought Robert Morris had a strong enough resume to avoid the play-in game. Robert Morris had notable wins against Marquette and Penn State during the regular season.

“It was a shock. It caught us a little off-guard,” Cox said. “But there’s no need to be upset about it.”

Cox, 24, joined the Robert Morris program, which is making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, as an assistant coach in the summer of 2016. Cox said it took him about “10 minutes” to accept the position once head coach Andrew McMinn offered him the spot.

“It was a no-brainer,” Cox said.

Cox, who starred at Schenectady High School in football and lacrosse, said it initially was tough to adjust to a new program. He played four seasons at UAlbany as a midfielder — Cox was a second-team all-conference pick as a senior — before spending the 2016 season at UAlbany as a volunteer assistant coach under head coach Scott Marr.

“His was really the only coaching style I knew, and the only mentor I knew,” Cox said.

Coaching, Cox said, was something he realized he wanted to pursue midway through his UAlbany career. Cox helped Marr with his travel club program during a couple offseasons.

“I fell in love with helping the younger kids,” Cox said.

Cox has already played and coached in NCAA tournament games. He said it’s easier — or, at least, less stressful — to play than coach in those high-stakes games.

“Your impact coaching is in the preparation,” Cox said. “On game day, as a coach, it’s more about hoping your guys execute what you taught them.”

While Robert Morris topped Canisius the first time the teams met this season, Cox said the Colonials’ execution was far from perfect that day. That gives the young coach confidence his team will get its chance to take on top-seeded Maryland.

“We know we can play even better,” Cox said.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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