May 11, 2012

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AMERICUS, Ga. – Georgia Southwestern State University has announced that Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Stephen Cox has left the program to become the Head Men's Basketball Coach at Thomas University. Cox leaves Americus after spending the past three seasons as a member of Head Coach Mike Leeder's staff.

"Coach Cox has been an enormous piece of the success Hurricane Basketball has achieved over the last few years. His recruiting, scouting and game planning has helped the program accomplish many milestones, and the program is in a better place because of Coach Cox," Head Coach Mike Leeder said. "On behalf of Georgia Southwestern State University and the Athletic Department, I want to wish Coach Cox the bests in his endeavor with the Thomas University Night Hawk basketball program."

During Cox's tenure with the Hurricanes, they have achieved the program's most success in the NCAA Division II era. The three-season stint with Cox on the bench featured the most wins in any three-year span in the program's Division II era. The 2011-12 season saw the Blue & Gold reach as high as twelfth in the NABC Division II National polls. It was the highest national ranking the program has ever received in the NCAA Division II era.

Another milestone during the past three seasons of GSW Basketball was the 2010-11 Hurricane Basketball season, which saw a 13 win improvement from the year before, and it produced several firsts in school history. These included GSW's first NCAA Division II men's basketball national ranking, first Peach Belt Conference division title in any sport, first NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance in any sport.  GSW also spent five weeks ranked in the Top 25, reaching as high as No. 16, and finished the season with a 20-9 record.

Thomas University is re-instating its basketball program, which quit NAIA competition after the 2000-2001 season. The Night Hawks will begin official play in the fall of 2013 as a member of the NAIA's Sun Conference. It will be a bit of a Hurricane homecoming in Thomasville. The Night Hawk basketball program was founded by current Georgia Southwestern Head Coach Mike Leeder in 1995. Coach Leeder led the Night Hawks from 1995-1998.

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