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New coach ready for challenge

USF coach Stan Heath has put the finishing touches on the hiring of his coaching staff, with the most recent hire being last Friday’s addition of assistant Jeremy Cox.

Cox, who’s known Heath for seven years, worked as an assistant under Billy Gillespie at Kentucky and Texas A&M for the past four years. He has only been on campus for five days, but is already making an impression.

The Oracle recently caught up with Heath’s newest coach:

The Oracle: What are your initial thoughts of the school in general? Have you been around campus?
Jeremy Cox: Yeah. It’s a beautiful campus. It seems there is a tremendous amount of energy and spirit here. I’m really enthused to be a part of it.

O: You coached under Gillespie for four years. Was it tough parting ways?
JC: I think it’s tough leaving anywhere where you’ve had great relationships. It’s harder to leave a relationship than a place. I didn’t just have a relationship with (Gillespie), but other staff member and players. That was the tough part.

But I’ve known coach Heath for a long time and respect him as a coach. I look forward to working with him. That made it easier.

O: Can you talk a little bit about the transition from a school that puts 20,000 fans in the stands to a school that puts 3,000?
JC: We’ve got to change that mindset. You look up at the banners in the Sun Dome and look at who you have to play every night and realize it’s not that different from Kentucky. We have to have the mindset of playing at the highest level. The expectations are there, the resources are there, and the coaching is there. 

O: You said USF had the resources. Did you see an opportunity to help turn the program around?
JC: No question. It’s exciting and it’s a challenge. A challenge is only exciting if it’s conquerable. This is a conquerable challenge. It has those three or four major things.

One, it’s in Tampa. It’s a beautiful place. Secondly, it’s in one of the best basketball leagues in the country. Third, you got a head coach who I can’t see any young man wouldn’t want to play for. You’ve got some things to sell.

O: So you and Heath are pretty close?
JC: We’ve known each other for a period of time. We’ve had a very good working

O: What are you thoughts about Dominique Jones and the USA World University Games Team competition?
JC: From the little time I’ve watched on film and had a chance to meet him, he seems like an outstanding kid. Just to be invited to that tryout is a tremendous honor. They don’t invite guys who can’t play. He’s obviously an outstanding player and it gives you a reason to be very optimistic when you have players like that in the program.

O: Stemming from an earlier response, what do you think it will take for USF to be
competitive in the Big East?

JC: Two things. You have to continue to add good players and your mindset has to change from, “We deserve to have success” to, “We can have success.”

O: Is there anything you’ve learned from previous jobs and experiences that can guide you here at USF?
JC: Most jobs are the same. It starts with hard work and enthusiasm and if you can bring those two things everyday, along with a product to sell, you can have success. USF has those two things.