By KEVIN HARRIS
Tim Cox has been fired as the Jeffersonville High School volleyball coach after a three-year tenure at the helm of the Red Devils. In his three seasons at Jeff, Cox compiled a 26-71 record.
Last Saturday, Cox sent an email to the News and Tribune on his firing, where he said he was given no reason by new Jeffersonville athletic director Todd Satterly why he had been released.
“Mr. Satterly requested a meeting with me and told me he was making a change to the program and I would no longer be the head coach,” Cox said in his email. “I was confused and didn’t understand why. I met with him and he released me as head coach, but would not tell me why I was being released as the coach, and I was never anything but professional in the whole meeting. But he would not elaborate as to why he was releasing me, so I leave it at that.”
In a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon, Cox elaborated a little bit more on his meeting with Satterly.
Cox said Satterly gave him a document where it stated that Cox had resigned as Jeff coach and Satterly asked him to sign it.
“I said, ‘No, Todd. I’m not going to sign that,’” said Cox, who then stated he was released shortly after that.
Satterly confirmed in a phone interview on Tuesday evening that Cox was given the choice to resign.
“I gave him the option to resign, and he refused to resign,” Satterly said. “It was a personnel decision, but I can’t legally talk about it.”
Even though Satterly did not give a specific reason why Cox got fired, he did say that it is the preference within the Greater Clark County Schools Corporation that head high school varsity coaches be full-time teachers within the corporation. Cox is not a teacher at any GCCS school and was not a teacher during his three years as Red Devil coach.
“Absolutely — that goes for all of our varsity coaches,” Satterly said in response to a question about varsity coaches being full-time GCCS teachers. “It’s preferred that head varsity coaches are teachers.”
On Tuesday, Cox also said that he heard through the rumor mill after he got fired that the reasoning for his release was because of a text message exchange between him and an undisclosed person within the program.
Cox refused to talk about the details or reveal the person he had the conversation with via text messaging. But he made a brief comment about the text message, stating the following:
“I heard that some people told me [that his firing] was over a text message, which was something trivial. I have no comment about what the actual text message was about, but I will say it was not damaging.”
Satterly said in his final meeting with Cox, the text message was not brought up.
“We did not talk about it,” Satterly said.
In his email to the News and Tribune, Cox said everything seemed fine between Satterly and him shortly after Satterly got the Jeff AD job on June 18. Cox said he had his first real conversation with Satterly during one of his volleyball team’s conditioning sessions this summer.
“He came to introduce himself to me one night at our conditioning program. Mr. Satterly seemed like he was really behind me in making the volleyball program succeed,” Cox stated.
But Cox said that all changed during a meeting on July 10 with Satterly and Jeff High principal Julie Straight.
“Suddenly, some things changed in early July and I was told that I had to reapply for my position and that I had to stop all volleyball workouts and conditioning and that the position would have to be posted for 10 days and never was,” Cox said in his email. “I met with Mr. Satterly and principal Julie Straight, and they told me not to stop all activities and just continue with my workouts with the team until they got back to me about what I needed to do in order to remain the coach. I thought the meeting was very positive and that there were no issues. However, sometime between that meeting on July 10 and [last] week, something had changed.”
In Cox’s first season in 2010, the Red Devils posted a 6-26 record. But Cox’s biggest victory as Jeff coach happened that season when he guided the Devils to a first-round victory over Bedford North Lawrence in the Class 4A Jennings County Sectional.
It was Jeff’s first sectional win since class sports began in 1998, and according to some people close to the program, it was the first sectional triumph in a number of years.
Jeff went 10-23 in 2011 and then 10-22 last season under Cox. But in 2012, the Red Devils posted a huge win over perennial power Silver Creek in the Jeff Invitational.
Even though Cox had a losing record each season at Jeff, he seemed to be getting the program pointed in the right direction. A few years before his arrival, the Red Devils suffered through some seasons where they went winless or won one or two matches.
Cox said on Tuesday that that prior to his dismissal, Satterly mentioned to him that he was doing a good job at Jeff.
“He said, ‘Coach, you know you’ve done a good job,’” Cox said. “I’m not upset over [the dismissal]. I chose to coach at Jeff High. But why do you get rid of a coach whose doing a good job?”
Cox said he was looking forward to the 2013 season because of a new offseason conditioning program he started at Jeff.
“We started our summer workouts on June 13 and this year we started a new conditioning program, that by the way all the girls and parents thought was awesome,” Cox said. “I got nothing but compliments from parents on how well the program was going. The girls all agreed it was a great change and feel like they were getting into great shape. I even had some eighth-graders that are involved in this program and all future Jeff High players.”
Cox said he had worked hard in the offseason to try to solidify the future of Jeff volleyball. He worked with the YMCA of Southern Indiana in Jeffersonville and conducted a eight-week instruction volleyball camp for players in grades 3-8. Cox said 96 kids participated in the camp. Cox also conducted a youth volleyball camp at Jeff High.
“I really worked hard in the offseason trying to get the younger kids involved in Jeff High volleyball,” Cox said. “The disadvantage with volleyball in the public schools here is that they don’t have the opportunity to start playing competitive middle school volleyball until sixth or seventh grade. So that is one reason I wanted to start some offseason camps for the younger kids to get them involved in volleyball.
“It is always fun to work with the younger kids and there are some very good ones out there that participated.”
Satterly says he is currently looking for Cox’s replacement.
“We’re hoping to hire someone this week. We’re on it,” Satterly said.
The Jeff AD also is searching for a new girls’ basketball coach to replace Matt Pait. Pait, who coaching the Jeff girls last season, was named the new Jeff boys’ basketball coach last week.
TIM COX’S JEFF TENURE
• 2010: 6-26
• 2011: 10-23
• 2012: 10-22