Detail

Ali Cox '01, USD/Olympian Rower, to be Inducted in WCC Hall of Honor

Alison Cox '01, a three-time All-WCC rower at USD and a silver-medal winning U.S. Olympian, will be inducted into the 2019 WCC Hall of Honor on March 9.Alison Cox '01, a three-time All-WCC rower at USD and a silver-medal winning U.S. Olympian, will be inducted into the 2019 WCC Hall of Honor on March 9.

Ali Cox was walking across the heart of the University of San Diego's campus during transfer orientation back in 1998. Tables were spread across the walkway at the Alcala Bazaar with clubs recruiting prospective participants when USD women's rowing coach Leeanne Crain leaped out of her chair at the sight of the 6-foot-tall Cox.

Crain gave her spiel, Cox, who had never rowed in her life, took the bite and thus were the seeds sewn for a future Olympian.
 
Regarding the first time he spotted Cox testing on an ergometer, longtime USD men's head coach Brooks Dagman said, "I'm going, 'Oh, my. Yes, she's going to be special."

How special? Cox became the first USD rower to earn All-West Coast Conference honors three times. While at USD, she lifted her game to the international level and was in the women's four at the Under-23 World Championships in Denmark.
 
Then, just one year after graduating from USD in 2001, Cox won a gold medal in the women's 8s at the 2002 World Rowing Championships. It was the Americans' first gold in women's 8s at the World Champs since 1995.
 
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Cox sat in the Americans' silver-medal-winning 8s boat, which spawned an era of U.S. domination. The United States has won the gold medal in the event at every Olympics since 2008, plus won gold at the World Championships 11 consecutive years, from 2006 to 2016.

Her rowing accomplishments for USD have earned her a spot in the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor’s 2019 induction class that will be feted on March 9 in Las Vegas. Cox will go into the 11th Hall class with BYU's Tiffany Lott-Hogan (Track), Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison (Men’s Basketball), Loyola Marymount’s Tara Welling (Erdmann) (Cross Country/Track), Pacific’s Jayne McHugh (Volleyball), Pepperdine’s Gualberto Escudero (Tennis), Portland’s Stephanie Lopez Cox (Soccer), Saint Mary’s Trevor Newquist (Soccer), San Francisco’s Orlando Smart (Basketball) and Santa Clara’s Caren Horstmeyer (Basketball).

While Cox didn't have rowing experience when she jumped into the sport, she was blessed with athleticism and an insatiable competitive instinct. She earned 11 varsity letters at Turlock (Calif.) High School, with softball and tennis being her specialties.
 
As for competitiveness, in high school Cox once broke her helmet bag after striking out.
 
Recalled Cox, "My high school coach told me, 'I don't know what you're going to do, but you need this fixed by tomorrow's game.'"
 
Cox took the bag to her grandmother, who handled the repairs.
 
Early in her rowing career at USD, Cox developed a motto: Pain is temporary, but results are forever.
 
"Every single time I raced I thought about it," said Cox. "This pain will go away but these results will live forever."
 
Cox majored in communications at USD and earned a minor in business marketing. She retired after the 2004 Olympics and developed her own marketing agency, Ali Cox & Company Marketing.
 
Out of the sport for six years, Cox returned to international rowing in 2010.
 
"I just felt like I had a little unfinished business," said Cox. "I still wanted to win a gold medal at the Olympics."
 
While Cox didn't earn gold at the Olympics, competing against rowers a decade younger, she rowed on the U.S. team that won gold at the Samsung World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2011.
 
Cox is married with two children, sons William, 3, and Ford, 22 months. She still owns her own marketing agency, which focuses on digital marketing in the agricultural community.
 
Of her USD memories, Cox said, "It was a warm, kind community of people, both academically and athletically. I feel really lucky that I was able to transfer (from the University of New Hampshire) into a school that was so nurturing.
 
"It wasn't just about the classes. It wasn't just about the beach. It wasn't just about rowing. I had a very well-rounded college experience."

Cox joins 10 other USD standouts in the Hall of Honor.

— USD Athletics staff

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