Lobos & Albuquerque Lose A Friend With The Passing of Roger Cox
April 8, 2013
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
His roots as a Lobo go back to the days of Zimmerman Field, the Skyline conference and two-platoon football.
But Roger Cox, who passed away this past weekend, was not an ex-Lobo who simply contributed in the past. He helped pave the way for present and future Lobos to find success at the University of New Mexico.
The well-known and respected real estate developer was also a pillar in the community on several levels.
"Roger Cox was a special Lobo who came into our family as a player but remained passionate and loyal as a friend and booster," said Tim Cass, UNM's Deputy Director of Athletics.
"Roger achieved on the football field and the track as a New Mexico athlete, but what he did for the Albuquerque community and our athletic program after graduating from UNM forms a larger part of Roger's legacy.
"He was a great Lobo, but he also was a great man and the University of New Mexico and the state has lost a special friend. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his family and to everyone who was fortunate enough to have known Roger."
Cox was a home-grown Lobo. He was born in Crownpoint, N.M., in 1931 and spent the early days of his childhood on the Navajo Reservation where his father owned and worked a trading post. He went to high school at Farmington High, graduated in 1949 and came to the University of New Mexico to play football and run track.
Cox was multi-talented on both UNM fields of competition. He was First Team All-Skyline Conference. As a senior defensive end in 1952, he played for a 7-2 Lobo team that yielded 5.1 points per game. Cox also played offensive end/fullback, carrying the football out of the UNM backfield. In track, he ran the 100 and 220, competed in field events and ran on relays for UNM's legendary track coach, Roy Johnson.
One signature win for Cox and UNM was a 34-0 pounding - and upset - over Brigham Young in 1951 that handed UNM its first homecoming win in nine years. Cox scored the Lobos' first touchdown in that game and spearheaded a UNM defensive front that shutout a Cougar team favored by 14 points.
The Lobos went into that game vs. BYU riding a five-game losing streak and coming off a 41-7 loss to Wyoming. It was "one of the biggest upsets ever pulled by a Lobo eleven," wrote Journal Sports Editor, J.D. Kailer. Cox scored twice in that homecoming upset.
Cox became well known in Albuquerque and New Mexico as a realtor, business leader and entrepreneur. He became involved in developing Paa-Ko Ridge and the Sandia Park area.
Cox had a chance to play pro ball after UNM, but was drafted and eventually served two years in the U.S army.
The competitiveness, confidence, intelligence and leadership that helped make Cox a standout Lobo also carried him to success in the business sector. In 1965, he formed Roger Cox and Associates.
Roger had been generous over the years in both his time and support to UNM. He served as President of the Student Lettermen' Club, the Alumni Lettermen's Association and was Vice President of the Lobo Club. He was a member of the Tom Popejoy Society and a longstanding supporter of the Lobo Club. He organized and sponsored many athletic events to further UNM athletics like "Fill the Stadium," and the sponsoring of numerous golf tournaments.
Cox is a member of the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor.
The late Sam Suplizio - 1998 Athletic Hall of Honor inductee - wrote of his fellow teammate: "Roger's contributions to athletics at UNM, economic development throughout New Mexico, along with the good will that he brought for the entire state are truly historical, professional achievements, for this New Mexico native, turned UNM athlete, turned civic leader, turned real estate entrepreneur. Under Roger's watchful eye, he has certainly made everything better wherever he has been."