The last time you may have heard Crystal Cox’s name was when she was re-writing the record books for the softball teams at Central Cabarrus High or UNC Chapel Hill.More than 10 years after she graduated from Central Cabarrus and was named the state’s high school softball player of the year, Cox is still adding softball accolades to her resume.On Feb. 2, she became the first player and first female inducted in the N.C. Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Cox currently lives in New Orleans and was unable to attend the ceremony at Middle Creek High School in Apex.Receiving the Hall of Fame plaque on her behalf were two members of her family who still live in Harrisburg: her father Carroll and brother Josh, currently an N.C. State student. Her mother Linda was unable to attend because of an illness but Theresa Nicholas, one of Crystal’s former teammates at Central Cabarrus and UNC, was also able to attend.“She’s one of the most competitive people I know today,” Nicholas said. “Whether it’s softball or her job. She’s the type who will race you up the stairs and then hug you at the top.”The ceremony was originally scheduled for Jan. 26 but inclement weather pushed it back a week. Cox, 28, flew to town for the initial date but wasn’t able to return the following weekend.Cox is employed as a marketing specialist for a wine company.One can guess how busy someone in her position would have been in New Orleans the weekend of Super Bowl XLVII.“I’m so honored,” said Cox, talking by phone from New Orleans. “I’m very humbled by it that the coaches picked me. They are people I played against all this time who wanted me to receive this. My family is excited. You never get really removed from softball. It will always be a part of me.”In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cox was the face of her sport in Cabarrus County, and quite possibly the state, at a time when the fastpitch variety of high school softball was just catching on.Cox led Central Cabarrus to 3A state championships in 2000 and 2001 and another title game appearance in 2002. She threw up gaudy numbers along the way, setting records that still stand.In the state athletic association record book, Cox is first in career strikeouts (1,455), perfect games (17), no-hitters (37), and innings pitched (747.2). She holds several pitching records at UNC and is 34th on the NCAA Division I career strikeout list with 1,205.Mike Lambros, coach at North Davidson High, a Central Cabarrus’ arch-nemesis during Cox’s playing days, fondly remembers her contributions. He was a member of the NCSCA Hall of Fame’s first induction class in 2010 and sat on a committee that nominated three new members this year.“She was well deserved to be the first,” Lambros said. “We’ll probably start recognizing others as well but we could not recognize any others without having her go in first.”Ten of the 11 members of the NCSCA Hall of Fame are high school softball coaches, including Monte Sherrill, who coached Central Cabarrus to 4A state championships in 2004 and 2005 after Cox graduated. The Hall of Fame doesn’t have a physical location, but information on it can be found at www.ncfastpitch.org.After graduating from UNC in 2006, Cox took a job as a sales rep for a wine distributor in Charlotte. In her spare time, Cox coached youth softball with the Carolina Cardinals travelling tournament team, with whom she played as a teenager.In 2011, she changed jobs and locales and continues to provide tips to high school pitching prospects. Cox will be transferring to Richmond, Va., next month, cutting her drive back to Harrisburg in half.She is engaged to be married in August to a man she met in New Orleans. Nicholas, who was so instrumental in Cox’s success as her catcher with the Carolina Cardinals and at UNC, will also be a key figure at the wedding. She will serve as maid of honor.
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013
Crystal Cox named to softball Hall of Fame
Legendary player is first female, player chosen
Former Central Cabarrus star Crystal Cox was recently inducted into the N.C. Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Her father Carroll Cox and Theresa Nicholas, a former teammate of Crystal’s at Central Cabarrus and UNC Chapel Hill, received the award for Crystal, who now lives in New Orleans. COURTESY OF THE COX FAMILY
Crystal Cox recently became the first female and player named to the Softball Hall of Fame. COURTESY OF THE COX FAMILY