Willie Cox
Willie Cox

Assistant Coach

Alma Mater:
Bradley '82

E-mail Coach Cox

When it comes to putting experience to work in coaching, Willie Cox is out in front. Cox has 25 years of experience coaching and recruiting throughout the Midwest and he has been an integral part of bringing the talented players to Illinois State who have impacted the program's history.

Before coming to Illinois State in 2003, Cox was instrumental in coaching young men and women on many levels, helping them earn scholarships and developing players to succeed at the next level, including the NBA.

The 25-year veteran of college, high school and AAU basketball, Cox's dedication, experience and unique perspective on coaching and working with young people has been the cornerstone of his long record of success.

His patient demeanor hides the competitive juices that have fueled Cox's vital role in the quick turnaround of the Redbird program. His recruiting skills have shaped the long-term future of the program, as he helped land five Illinois All-State players in the Redbirds' 2004-05 and 2005-06 classes, including 2004 McDonald's Top-100 point guard Kristi Cirone of Chicago Resurrection.

The exceptional recruiting success is no surprise to those who know Cox, who is respected throughout the game of basketball for his knowledge, work ethic and personal dedication to the young people he leads.

The 2000 and 2001 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year at Peoria Central High School led those two girls teams to IHSA State Tournaments played at Redbird Arena. He also established Peoria's highly-successful girls amateur basketball program, Push the Rock, helping seven of his high school and AAU players earn college athletics scholarships.

Cox's experiences as a parent aids his effectiveness in recruiting quality young women. His daughter, Anissa, was a softball student-athlete at Grambling State.

He coached future NBA stars Hersey Hawkins and Jim Les while a member of the Bradley men's basketball staff in the 1980's. Cox was also an assistant for the Loyola-Chicago men's basketball program from 1989-93.

After 10 years in men's college basketball, Cox returned to Peoria and got involved in girls basketball in 1993. In 1996, his 14-and-under and 16-and-under teams won American Youth Basketball Tournament national titles in the same year, 1996.

Cox also spent 12 years as a counselor with Peoria School District 150 and with the Peoria Housing Authority in the 1980's. His diverse leadership talents along with his tremendous knowledge and experience in athletics makes him an instrumental part of the Redbird staff.

He began his coaching career after earning his bachelor of science degree in physical education at Bradley in 1982. He and his wife, Juanita, have three daughters: Cassandra, Tamara and Anissa, a 2006 graduate of Illinois State. They also have a granddaughter, Alandrea, and a grandson, Brian.