Cox heading to Sports Hall of Fame
Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The late Cary Cox, who made Southwest Georgia All-Conference as captain of the Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team in 1934, will be inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday at the Kirbo Center.
Cox accepted a football scholarship in 1935 to the University of Alabama, where he started at center and linebacker for the Crimson Tide.
He was on the Crimson Tide team in 1937 that went 9-0 before losing to California 13-0 in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 1938.
Cox was born Dec.31, 1917, in Bainbridge and was a 1935 Bainbridge High School graduate.
He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Alabama in 1935 where he started at center and linebacker. He served as Alabama Crimson Tide team captain in 1939 and was selected to the Liberty Magazine All-Players All-American team. He was also selected to play in the second annual Blue Gray Game in 1939.
Cox, who was previously inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not sign due to his Army obligations.
He served in North Africa, Sicily and Europe during World War II. He spent almost three years in front line action, leading troops into battle on numerous fronts as an infantry officer while earning Silver Star and Bronze Star decorations for bravery.
He also earned several battlefield promotions as he advanced from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel during his overseas duty while demonstrating his leadership and courage.
He was part of one of the first American troops to engage the Germans in World War II when his regiment spearheaded the November 1942 invasion of French Morocco in Operation Torch. The unit later received a Presidential Unit Citation for repelling a massive German attack on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1943.
Cox was promoted to captain during cleanup operations in North Africa while his unit fought along the Algeria Tunisia border. His unit landed in Palermo Sicily on August 5, 1943, and infiltrated enemy lines to lead the offensive in the capture of Messina on August 17.
He received a Bronze Star for bravery and a battlefield promotion to major for his leadership during the Sicilian campaign. His unit then moved to Winchester England in November 1943 to prepare for the June 6, 1944, Normandy Invasion.
Cox waded onto Utah Beach a few days after D-Day as the newly promoted lieutenant colonel commanding the infantry regiment. The unit immediately joined the battle in relief of units decimated during the D-Day invasion.
He displayed the same leadership as a member of the Crimson Tide football team from 1937 to 1939. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in commerce and business administration from the University of Alabama in June 1939.
Cox married Elizabeth Bolling Brooks of Brewton, Ala., March 7, 1941, and they had two children, Elizabeth (Buffie) Cox Marks born Sept. 24, 1948, and W. Cary Cox born Aug. 11, 1955.
After being released from active military duty in September 1945, Cox purchased a partnership interest in a Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile dealership in Brewton, Ala., in December 1945.
He purchased a Chevrolet, Cadillac Dealership in Alex City, Ala., in 1956 and moved to Alex City. He sold the Chevrolet Cadillac Dealership in 1981 after 25 years.
He served as president of the Brewton Rotary Club in 1950 president of the Kiwanis Club in 1961 and president of the chamber of commerce in 1964. He served on the Alex City School Board five years and was school board chairman one year. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church for 30 years. He retired in 1984.
Editor’s Note: This is the final installment in a series on the four people who will be inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, March 1, at the Kirbo Center at Bainbridge State College. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Kirbo Center, Grimsley Pharmacy Center, Parker Paint and Decorating Center and Action GMC.