Amber Cox, daughter of Vikki Gripka, of Joplin, and David Cox, of Cassville, will leave behind the position of chief operating officer (COO) of the Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) Phoenix Mercury to return to the Missouri university.
"Amber is the first female, and the first alum, to hold this position," said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president. "I am so pleased that she has accepted this opportunity; she is going to be a fireball."
Cox earned a bachelor of arts degree with magna cum laude honors from WWU in 1996, with a major in communications and a minor in physical education. She also earned a master of business administration at the college in 1998.
After graduating from college, Cox served as assistant director of athletics/media relations and development for Columbia College for four years and worked as sports information director and commissioner for the American Midwest Conference for six years. She also served as a Region V sports information director for one year.
Later, Cox spent seven years with the Phoenix Mercury. Before her promotion to COO in 2010, she served as senior director of marketing and promotions. The franchise won two WNBA Championships during her tenure.
Other work experience includes two years as accounts supervisor at Visionworks Marketing and Communications and two years as assistant sports information director and assistant basketball coach at WWU.
As a college student, Cox worked as an assistant forestry information specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation and completed a photography internship at the Missouri House of Representatives. She also served as editor of WWU's student newspaper.
Cox played basketball for the William Woods Owls from 1992 to 1996. She was a three-time AMC All-Conference player, and during the 1994-95 season, she was named NAIA honorable mention All-American.
Cox is the granddaughter of Dorothea Cox and the late Hollis Cox, of Cassville, and Frances Tucker, of Monett.