Published or Revised January 09, 2017
Clay Cox, who has served as assistant baseball coach for Paris Junior College this past year, has been named to replace longtime baseball coach Deron Clark.
In 2015-16, while Cox was assistant coach, the Dragons doubled their win total and improved in every offensive category, including leading the conference in stolen bases. He coached five All-Conference selections and one MLB draft Pick (Chad Hardy who went in the 33rd Round to the Boston Red Sox).
Cox came to PJC from the University of West Alabama where, in 2015, he helped lead the Tigers to a 42-11 (26-6) record, a Gulf South Conference regular season title and GSC tournament championship. The Tigers were ranked seventh in the country and set a school record in winning percentage (.792). UWA had a Division 2 best and school record 20-game win streak.
While Cox coached infielders, the Tigers set a school record for fielding percentage (.967) which was ranked tenth nationally. UWA finished in the top three in their conference in (Batting Avg, Runs, Hits, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, Slug %, BB, SB). UWA was also ranked 25th nationally with 53 HR’s. Cox coached 11 all-conference selections, a GSC Player of the Year, five all-region selections, three All-Americans, and two MLB draft picks while at UWA.
In the summer of 2016, Cox coached his third and final season with the Brazos Valley Bombers of the Texas Collegiate League. They finished ranked third in the country for the second straight season. The Bombers finished with a 48-7 record and an unprecedented fourth straight Texas Collegiate League title. 2016 was a summer of records for the Bombers, breaking the TCL record for stolen bases (159), winning streak (21), regular season wins (47), and half-season record (28-2).
During the two preceding years he helped the Bombers to back-to-back-to-back TCL titles, finishing 2015 with a record of 45-9 winning the regular season, TCL title and finishing ranked third in the nation. The Bombers finished 2014 with a 45-15 record, a TCL title and a national ranking of fifth. Cox was selected to the Texas Collegiate League North All-Star coaching staff in both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He has helped the Bombers lead the league in ERA, Batting Average and fielding percentage in all three seasons as well. Cox has coached 16 Major League draft picks with Brazos Valley. Cox also served as head coach of the 2016 TCL Red All-Star Team.
Prior to UWA, Cox coached at Rockdale High School, where he was the head varsity baseball coach for two seasons. During that time Rockdale won more games than in any other two year span in school history. Under Cox, Rockdale set school records for win streak (11), stolen bases in a single game (20), and stolen bases in a season (135). He coached two all-star selections, four all-state choices, seven academic all-district selections and three academic all-state honorees.
Before Rockdale, Cox was the head baseball coach at Jacksboro High School. He also had coaching stops at James Bowie High School in Simms.
His career totals as a prep head coach include 16 all-district selections, nine all-state choices and five all-star selections. He twice produced the 3A Baseball “Hitter of the Week” by TxHighSchoolBaseball.com.
Cox earned his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Texas A&M in 2008 with a minor in coaching. He holds two masters degrees: a 2014 Master of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University – Irvine and a 2015 Master of Arts in Teaching – Physical Education from the University of West Alabama.
Nathan Lawrence is entering his first year as Assistant Baseball Coach, and his fifth year coaching collegiate baseball. His will serve as recruiting coordinator and pitching coach.
Prior to PJC, Lawrence was the Recruiting Coordinator and Hitting Coach at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, Okla. There he helped the Mountaineers to the Region 2 Championship; their fourth in 7 years.
Lawrence also spent two years in Kansas at Pratt Community College, where he was Recruiting Coordinator and Pitching Coach. Those two years saw recruits from five states and four countries, and he was known there for his ability to recruit impact players from Colorado and Oklahoma. Wins also went up for the pitching staff and the losses, walks, and ERA went down.
During the summer months, Lawrence is head coach for the Sag Harbor Whalers in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. Always looking for ways to further his education in baseball, he received his certification in biomechanics from the National Pitching Association in the fall of 2014.
In 2012-13, Lawrence coached at College of the Ozarks in Branson, Mo., as the catching and hitting coach. A C of O graduate, he also played catcher there for three years, spending his sophomore year recovering from shoulder surgery.
In the summer of 2012, Lawrence began coaching in the MINK League for the Springfield Generals. Four players from that team continued their playing career in professional baseball.