IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox Announces He Will Retire This Summer
Bobby Cox, Commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. since 2011, announced to the IHSAA
Executive Committee his intention to retire effective August 1, 2020. Cox’s announcement came this morning as part of
the group’s January meeting.
Cox, 63, and who will be completing a 41-year career in education, joined the IHSAA as an assistant commissioner in 2000
and began his tenure as the IHSAA’s eighth commissioner on February 1, 2011 succeeding Blake Ress (2000-11). Other
former IHSAA commissioners include: Bob Gardner (1995-2000), C. Eugene Cato (1983-1995), Ward E. Brown (1976-
1983), Phil N. Eskew (1962-1976), L.V. Phillips (1945-1962) and Arthur L. Trester (1929-1945).
“It has been an honor to serve as Commissioner of this great organization,” says
Cox. “I will take away fond memories and a sense of accomplishment on behalf
of our member schools and thousands of Hoosier students knowing that
education-based athletics remains vitally important and relevant in our state.”
The Personnel Committee announced that a plan to begin the search for a new
commissioner will be developed and presented to the IHSAA Executive
Committee at its February meeting.
During Cox’s tenure as Commissioner, the IHSAA has made unprecedented
advances in numerous areas all with the intention of further strengthening the
IHSAA’s brand and trumpeting the many values and benefits of participation in
He oversaw an expansion of corporate partnerships and sponsorships for the
Association and pushed for strides in sportsmanship, technology, coaches
education, student-athlete health and safety, officiating recruitment and
retention, and servant leadership just to name a few.
Perhaps most special to Cox was the Association’s embrace of the Champions
Together initiative, a partnership with Special Olympics Indiana which
established the newest state tournaments in Unified Track and Field (2014) and
Unified Flag Football (2018). The two sports allow students with and without intellectual disabilities to compete together in
a team setting for their school.
In 2014, he helped finalize a deal with the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever to become the presenting sponsors of the boys
and girls basketball state tournaments, the first professional basketball franchises in the country to partner with a state
high school association.
Cox oversaw the creation and formation of the IHSAA Foundation in 2015 which continues to operate for the charitable
benefits of IHSAA member schools and their student-athletes.
That same year, the IHSAA took the unprecedented step of self-producing state championship events along with games of
the week in football and basketball using its online streaming platform at IHSAAtv.org. Together with the IHSAA
Champions Network, it has grown into one of the most successful high school sports broadcasting aggregates in the United
Additionally, he’s worked to promote the #FaceOfSportsmanship initiative to address student and adult behaviors,
authored the Tournament Success Factor in team sports, and oversaw the move to multiple classes in boys and girls soccer
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(2011), and the addition of a sixth class in football (2013). He also orchestrated a total redesign and launch of the IHSAA
members and officials website at myIHSAA.org (2018) and a renovation of the IHSAA building in 2011.
“Commissioner Cox has been a tremendous asset to the IHSAA during his service to the association and the State of
Indiana,” says Matt Martin, chairman of the IHSAA Executive Committee and athletic director at Knightstown High
School. “Under his leadership and guidance, the IHSAA is currently at the forefront of numerous policies due to his
knowledge and leadership. When the commissioner retires in August, the IHSAA will be in great standing due to his hard
work and dedication. It has been a pleasure to serve as chairman and on the IHSAA Board of Directors under
Prior to being appointed commissioner, Cox had served as assistant commissioner from 2000-11 administering the sports
of football, boys’ golf, boys’ and girls’ track and field, and wrestling.
In addition to leading the IHSAA, Cox has served on several different boards of directors including the National Federation
of State High School Associations (NFHS), the IHSAA Foundation, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the Indiana Sports
Corporation, the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), and the Center for Sports Leadership
and Innovation. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the 2022 College Football Playoff Host Committee.
Previously, Cox was a member of the NFHS Football Rules Committee serving as the Chairman of the Research
subcommittee from 2008-2011. Additionally, he served as a member of the NFHS Coaches’ Education committee from
2002-06 and as an advisor to the Commission on Sports Medicine of the Indiana State Medical Association.
Before joining the IHSAA, Cox had spent the previous 21 years as a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator in the Carmel
Clay Schools. He served as athletics and activities director at Clay Junior High School from 1990-97, and as the athletic
director at Carmel High School from 1997-2000. At Carmel High School, his responsibilities included management of 54
athletic teams and 97 coaches who annually served more than 1,100 student athletes. During his tenure as athletic
director, he served as the host administrator for numerous IHSAA tournament events, including the cross country and
softball state finals.
Professionally, Cox earned the designation of Certified Athletic Administrator by the National Interscholastic Athletic
He is a 2019 inductee into the Carmel High School Alumni Hall of Fame, where he graduated in 1975 and participated in
cross country and track and field. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from Butler University in
1979 and a master’s degree in secondary education from Butler in 1987. Cox’s wife, Kathy, is a retired Athletic and Activity
Director at Clay Middle School.
BOBBY COX AT A GLANCE
Robert Michael Cox.
October 24, 1956 in Birmingham, Alabama (63 years old).
Carmel High School, 1975.
Butler University (B.S., Physical Education and Health), 1979.
Butler University (M.S., Secondary Education), 1987.
Carmel Clay Junior High School, teacher and coach, 1979-90.
Carmel Clay Junior High School, athletics and activities director, 1990-97.
Carmel High School, athletic director, 1997-2000.
Indiana High School Athletic Association, assistant commissioner, 2000-11.
Indiana High School Athletic Association, commissioner, 2011-20.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox Announces He Will Retire This Summer