He has been with Lee College for essentially his entire professional career in the United States. Now, Graeme Cox has taken his game to another level, as he has gone from the world of academia to now adding the title of the college’s athletic director on a full-time basis.
In September, Cox was approached by college president, Dr. Dennis Brown, and regents to step into the vacated athletic director post when Keith Coleman resigned and he did so, but only on an interim basis.
“I am a division chair in kinesiology and so there were concerns on my and the president’s part moving full time into this role,” Cox said. “I have other administrative responsibilities on the academic side, so I just wanted to get through last semester. Then earlier this year he asked if I wanted, ‘What are you doing? Are you interim? Are you wanting to do this full time? Should we look for someone else?’ I said I would be happy to take it on and see how we go. There are a lot of challenges, but I enjoyed it. It was like getting a new job without having to move. I had all these new things to learn and I am excited about the opportunity to learn more things.”
The position has had a lot of turnover over the past decade and Cox hopes to bring stability and and do right by the college he has worked at since 1997, when he came to the United States from Brisbane, Australia.
He is an athletic director of a program with two teams – volleyball and men’s basketball.
Lee College used to have swimming, baseball and tennis teams before shutting down the programs.
It doesn’t mean he won’t pursue some potentially advantageous moves for the program to help build its profile and successes.
Cox states that if the program were to add teams in the future, women’s basketball would be a “no brainer” since the facilities are already in place and others would have to be weighed.
“There is a lot of expense that goes into two teams,” Cox said. “Having two more teams wouldn’t add that same level of expense to it, it would be proportional. Two more teams might come at half that additional expense. We would have twice as many athletes, taking classes, graduating and getting funding from the government. There are lots of positives.
“The main thing that prevents us from that is we are (NJCAA) Division I and we give housing to our athletes. Right now we pay for athletes to live in apartments and that’s an expense. What I am trying to do is to get ways for student housing for not only athletes, but other people who come to the school. There would be lots of benefits there. The big picture, long term, is something we can build over time. It’s not something I want to magically do right now.”
The main thing would be to show the board that there would be a financial positive in moving forward with any such project.
“Now there is more student life, going to plays on campus, we have extended hours in the game room, we have more food being sold at the Rebel Roost,” Cox said. “All of these things snowball into a bigger picture. If we had four or five sports? We would have a robust program.”
Cox also says that despite rumblings to the contrary he is not heard of any intention from regents to shut down the athletic program.
“I think athletics are safe, I want to say strong,” Cox said. “I am not hearing a single word about cutting athletics. It doesn’t mean other people aren’t talking about it. But nothing has come down to me.”
What comes down to Cox, is just doing the best job he can.
“If I am a good athletic director, you don’t know who I am,” Cox said. “I am out promoting my head coaches and what they are doing. I want to tell you how successful our teams are. We’ve got two teams and there’s not a lot in relation between those two teams that I have anything to do with. I try to give them what they ask for. Roy (Champagne) and Danielle (Essix) are the professionals and I am not going to tell someone how to run a basketball play or what the volleyball team should be doing.
“If they are successful, Lee College athletics is successful and then I am successful.”