The Weatherford Christian School Lions won 12-straight games to start the 2018 season, ultimately falling just short of a TAPPS 6-Man Division III state title versus Baytown last December.
That campaign proved a family affair for WCS’ coaching staff, with Head Coach Stephen Cox and his father, Lineman Coach Charles “Pops” Cox both in the fold.
This year, a third generation of the Cox family, freshman defensive end/offensive lineman Boston Cox is set to join his father and grandfather on the high school football field.
With Charles Cox contemplating retirement after what will be his 50th year of coaching, 2019 stands as possibly the trio’s only chance to take the field and chase a championship together, an experience Stephen Cox said he knows not to take lightly.
“Coaching with my dad is just awesome,” Stephen Cox said.
“I saw him coaching with my brother back in Springtown, and I was always like, ‘Man, I wish I was out there too.’ And of course, dad is the reason me and my brother became coaches. So coaching with him the last six years has been really fun.
“It’s something not a lot of people get to do, so you cherish those memories you make, all the fun times, and even the bad times too.
“Then you watch your kid coming up, and I tried to stay away a little bit in junior high because I knew he was gonna have me for four years coming up in varsity. We have some high hopes for him coming into this year and moving into next year too.
“I think emotionally, you can’t really put it into words. It’s really cool to have your family right there, and you think about how fast time goes by, so you want to cherish every little bit you can with all three of us together.”
Charles Cox actually retired back in 2011, but said he was pulled back into the coaching ranks several years ago by his youngest son Stephen with roughly two weeks before the start of football season.
“I get a phone call, and it was my youngest son,” Charles Cox said.
“He said, ‘I’ve got this job, I’m gonna be a coach and athletic director at Weatherford Christian School. One thing though, I need a line coach and football season starts in two weeks.’ I told him I just retired. He said, ‘Well I’ll help you get started.’ So I did it.”
It is a decision Charles Cox said he is happy to have made.
“Stephen did well, the kids came out and performed for him really well,” Charles Cox said.
“It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had two sons who are both coaches. Now here I am working with my youngest.”
Boston Cox said getting to play with WCS’ varsity team under his father and grandfather has come with its own set of challenges through offseason workouts and summer practices, while at the same time stressing he would not trade the experience for anything.
“I’ve had Pops in junior high before, so that’s been awesome,” Boston Cox said.
“I’ve worked under both of them in offseason, and it’s just different because they go 10 times harder on you than anybody else.
“There’s a lot higher expectations. A lot more getting pushed harder and harder. It doesn’t really end. I go home, and I’ve got [my dad] telling me I can do this or this better, but it’s all worth it in the end. It’s gonna be fun.”
Like his father before him, Boston Cox said he found his love of football thanks to his family.
“About my dad’s second year of coaching, I was in fourth grade and it really clicked for me,” Boston Cox said.
“It seemed like something I would be really interested in. So I went to WIA and played there for a year. Then I went to Weatherford Optimist and played there for fifth and sixth grade. Then I eventually came here and played junior high. It was really them coaching that got me into this sport.”
Stephen Cox said his son was always with him on game day growing up, whether as a ball or water boy, or simply watching film with him after games.
While a number of years have passed since then, with Boston Cox now 14, one thing which has never changed is the family’s ability to give each other a hard time while maintaining a deep level of mutual respect for each other.
“We all pick on each other, but it’s a blast,” Stephen Cox said.
“Especially now me and dad coaching together, on Friday nights he’ll tell me, ‘You should do this and this.’ And I’ll say, ‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it.’ Of course that’s me being stubborn. But then Sunday we’re back to normal like nothing happened.”
Stephen Cox added that the way he and Charles Cox push Boston Cox has had a positive impact on the freshman’s relationships with the other varsity players.
“Boston says we’re harder on him, and you’ve gotta be. You’ve gotta make sure there’s no favoritism.
“The other varsity players take to him pretty well. His work ethic helps that out because he’s out there running and lifting all the time. But he’s not getting anything handed to him.”
Even after 49 years of coaching, Charles Cox has no problem giving his own son a hard time.
“I’d say I’m coach number one, my other son is number two and Stephen is number three,” Charles Cox said with a smile.
“That’s how we do it.”
While the elder Cox has not made a final decision on retirement after the 2019 season, the chance to bring home a state title as a family is an enticing one, Boston Cox said.
“It would be incredible, because I’ve seen both of them put so much work and time into this place,” Boston Cox said.
“So just to see it all pay off, especially if I was on the field with them, I think there would be nothing that could top that.”
Stephen Cox said that very thought has crossed his mind many times.
“I’ve thought about that,” Stephen Cox said.
“First of all, I hope it’s not Pops’ last year. I hope he stays until Boston graduates. We’ve been to the state championship game twice here, the semifinals once. I’ve always wanted to win a ring so dad could say he won at least one.
“Having Boston and dad out there, that would be pretty emotional.”
Charles Cox had a simple response to the thought of going out on top with his family in tow.
“That would be the cherry on top of the cake,” Charles Cox said.