Derick Cox guided the Rock Falls wrestling team to a lot of success over the past 9 years.
He’ll be providing a different kind of guidance in the future at his alma mater, Prophetstown High School.
Cox, 39, was hired Monday night as the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at the Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico school board meeting in Tampico. He is replacing Mark Lofgren, who is taking over as principal at Riverdale Elementary School in Port Byron.
Cox, an industrial technology teacher at Rock Falls High School, will finish out the school year, then begin his new duties on July 1. He interviewed for the position on March 10, then was hired 6 days later.
“It all came together very quickly,” said Cox, who earned an administrative degree from American College of Education last summer. “The job was posted, and they contacted me about it. I sent my stuff in, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to hear what they had to say. Everything just worked out.”
Cox, a 1998 Prophetstown High School grad, has been coaching wrestling for the past 22 years, including the last 9 as the head coach at Rock Falls. His teams won regional titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The last of those squads advanced to the Class 1A Dual Team State Tournament in Bloomington.
Individually, highlights included a state championship won by Niles Ager in 2017 and second-place finishes by Shawn Skinner in 2013 and Adam Meenen last month.
“I’ll remember the kids, the work they put in, and the success we helped them have,” Cox said. “We did some great things as a team, with the four regionals and getting to the Elite Eight, but to me, it was about the kids and the effort they put in. Whether it was the kids who made it to state and earned medals or those who worked hard and improved, it was always all about the kids.”
Cox will not coach at Prophetstown, which will free him up for family duties. His daughter, Dena, will be an eighth grader in the fall and is involved in volleyball, cheerleading, band and the play. His son, Cullen, will be a fifth grader and plans to participate in football, wrestling and baseball.
“I’ll be able to step back out of coaching,” Cox said, “and into a dad role.”
Rock Falls Athletic Director Rich Montgomery noted Cox will be missed at the school.
"We are sorry to see Coach Cox leave at the end of the year," Montgomery said. "He has done an outstanding job as our Director of Industrial Technology, president of the RFHS Teachers Union, assistant football coach and our wrestling head coach.
"We will follow our normal procedures of posting the position – we are currently working on more important issues – we will not look to fill the position until after we get through our current educational situations."