Southern Arkansas Director of Athletics Jay Adcox passed away Tuesday at approximately 6:45 p.m. in his home after a 10-month battle with cancer. Adcox had just completed his 13th year as athletic director at SAU. He was 60 and born December 24, 1950 in Snoqualmie, Wash.
Adcox arrived at Southern Arkansas in 1986 and served as assistant football coach for eight years before turning to teaching full-time following the 1993 season. He became chair of the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Recreation in 1997 before assuming the dual role as Director of Athletics from 1998-2001.
During his eight-year coaching stint with the Muleriders, Adcox served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for former head coaches Rob Hicklin and Don Tumey. He then turned to full-time teaching duties while pursuing a Ph.D. in human performance and health sciences from Southern Mississippi. From 1995-1996 Adcox was SAU’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative. He held the title of Assistant Athletic Director in 1997-98, mentoring under long-time Athletic Director W.T. Watson, before succeeding him the next year.
Adcox served in recent years on the NCAA Division II football championship committee. For years, he enjoyed and was recognized as the “color” voice opposite his good friend Dan Gregory’s play-by-play for Mulerider football and baseball games for KVMA/KVMZ radio. Adcox continued his role as Director of Athletics until his death, working in his office up until last week.
“Jay Adcox always had a positive attitude toward life and work and was totally dedicated to SAU”, stated Southern Arkansas President Dr. David F. Rankin. “He worked to promote Mulerider athletics right up to his last few days of life, and was a pleasure to work with and we will miss him.”
As a boy, Adcox’s family relocated from Washington to Knob Noster, Mo., in 1966, which began a long-standing relationship with the “Show-Me” state. After graduating high school in 1969, Adcox played football for the Missouri Tigers as a freshman before transferring to Missouri Western State, receiving his B.S.E. in physical education from there in 1975, and then his M.Ed. in the same discipline from Northwest Missouri State in 1976.
Adcox began his coaching career at Missouri Western State, serving as a graduate assistant, defensive coordinator and assistant head football coach from 1975-1980, and also head track coach in 1976-77. From there he served two years (1981-1982) as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Morehead State (Ky.), before accepting the head football coaching position at Peru State (Neb.), compiling a three-year 16-13 record from 1983-1985.
During his administrative tenure at Southern Arkansas, Adcox was a guiding force behind the renovation and upgrading of athletic facilities. He was instrumental in the planning and moving into the Kathryn Brown HKR Complex, the remodeling and renovation of football facilities at Wilkins Stadium, and oversaw the recently completed baseball and softball facilities and athletic weight room.
Adcox was a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, NCAA Division II Athletic Directors Association, American Football Coaches Association, American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and was a member of the Magnolia Rotary Club. He received numerous accolades and awards over his career, most recently honored this past year by the Knob Noster High School athletic recognition committee as a distinguished alumni. Adcox received SAU’s Faculty Excellence Award in 1998, was a Missouri Western State silver anniversary honoree in 2000, and was twice inducted to the Missouri Western Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and 2010 as a coach on the 1975 and 1977 football teams.
Adcox spent 36 years teaching and coaching his passion for football and education to literally hundreds of students, and touched the lives of his colleagues and those he came in contact with. A beloved figure on the Southern Arkansas campus, his influence was felt by many.
“Jay meant so much to everyone, and has been and always will be a mentor, teacher and friend to me,” said SAU Head Athletic Trainer Ken Cole. “He will be remembered with fondness and great respect.”
Adcox was a member of First United Methodist Church in Magnolia where he had served on the finance committee and administrative board. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Bonnie Adcox; a son, Joseph Adcox and wife Katherine; and a daughter, Sarah Adcox, all of Magnolia; two sisters, Pam Adcox and Debbie Reves of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; three grandchildren, William Telford, Luke Adcox and Kate Adcox; an uncle and aunt, Bucky and Nancy Adcox of Marysville, Wash.; two great-aunts, Emily and Edna Adcox of Snoqualmie, Wash.; numerous cousins, including two boy-hood friends in Howie and Rich Adcox; father and mother-in-law, Walter and Donna Baker of Sedalia, Mo.; sister and brother-in-law, Theresa and Terry Fuller of Knob Knoster, Mo.; brother and sister-in-law, Roger and Vickie Baker of Bates City, Mo.; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and extended family.
Adcox is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Jessie Adcox.
A private family memorial service to celebrate Adcox’s life will be held in Missouri after cremation. Locally, a guestbook and pictorial video tribute will be available Friday, July 29, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lewis Funeral Home Chapel in Magnolia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 321 West Main Street, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753; Southern Arkansas University Adcox Family Endowment or SAU Foundation, PO Box 9174, Magnolia, Arkansas 71754; Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, Spratt Hall 108, St. Joseph, Missouri, 64507; Life Touch Hospice, 2301 Champagnolle Road, El Dorado, Arkansas 71730; Caring Bridge at www.caringbridge.org; or the charity of donor’s choice.