It hasn't taken long for Mark Fox to right the ship that is Georgia basketball and set it on a course toward long-term prosperity. If his first three seasons have given just the smallest indication, then the Bulldogs could be headed for some great adventures beyond the horizon.
Just two years after arriving in Athens, Fox guided the Georgia program to its first 20-win season in nine years. The 2011 Bulldogs also earned their way into the NCAA Tournament, the program's first at-large bid in nine seasons.
There were plenty more measurable signs that 2011 was a marked ascension for the Bulldogs:
- Georgia's 21 wins were its most since 2002 and just the 11th 20-win season in program history.
- Georgia's 9-7 SEC record and third-place showing in the Eastern Division were its best since 2003.
- Georgia's seven road wins were the most since 1995 and more than in the three previous years combined.
- Georgia earned its first national Top 25 ranking since 2003.
- Average home attendance was its best since 2004.
In Fox's first season in Athens, amid low expectations, the Bulldogs in 2010 toppled three Top 25 opponents and nearly knocked off several more. They led the Southeastern Conference in key benchmarks such as free throw percentage, field goal percentage and assists. Just as important, they forced their SEC brethren to take notice of a new combatant joining their fight.
Throughout his first three seasons at Georgia, Fox has spoken often of instilling a winning culture in the program. Nowhere is this more tangible than in his team's academic pursuits. At the end of Spring Semester of 2012, no fewer than 12 Bulldogs will have earned undergraduate degrees in Fox's tenure.
Fox became the 21st head basketball coach in the history of the University of Georgia on April 3, 2009. The native Kansan arrived in Athens after five successful seasons in a similar capacity at the University of Nevada, which played in the postseason in each of those five years.
During Fox's tenure as head coach, Nevada won at least 21 games each season, won or shared four straight Western Athletic Conference titles and played in three consecutive NCAA Tournaments. He was named the WAC Don Haskins Coach of the Year three times.
In all, Fox spent nine seasons coaching basketball at the Reno school. His first four (2001-04) came as the Wolf Pack's associate head coach under Trent Johnson. When Johnson left Nevada for the head coaching job at Stanford, Fox assumed the lead chair, and the program kept its torrid pace.
As an assistant in 2003-04, Fox helped Nevada reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history as the Wolf Pack turned in a 25-9 overall record. Nevada registered upset victories over Michigan State and Gonzaga in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Nevada also tied for a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season crown for the first time in school history and captured the WAC Tournament title.
Coaching has been Fox's aspiration for as long as he can recall. All along his career path in this chosen sport, he has drawn inspiration from countless places and people.
Ironically, some of his most valuable nuggets of wisdom have come from coaches outside of basketball. Noted collegiate volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin (USC, Washington and Kansas State) as well as football coaches Don James (Washington) and Bill Snyder (K State) are among his professional role models.
Fox began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach and then as a full-time assistant under Lynn Nance at the University of Washington (1991-93). Perhaps the most significant happenstance during his time in Seattle took place off the court. He became fast friends with fellow assistant Trent Johnson, who later introduced Fox to a co-worker in the Huskies' promotions department named Cindy Holt. The two were married four years later.
Following his two-year stint at Washington, Fox completed another important step in his coaching career. He spent the 1993-94 season finishing his master's degree at the University of Kansas. During his spare time he was a close and constant observer of then-KU head coach Roy Williams and the Jayhawk basketball program.
Fox then spent six seasons (1994-2000) as an assistant coach under Tom Asbury at Kansas State before joining the Nevada staff in August of 2000. While at KSU, the Wildcats earned an NCAA Tournament invitation in 1996 and two appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (1998 and 1999). They led the nation in field-goal percentage defense in 1999 and were tops in the Big 12 Conference in that category from 1996-99.
Fox developed a reputation as a strong recruiter during his 12 years as an assistant coach. He has signed and coached numerous players who earned all-conference honors from the Big Eight, Big 12, Pac-10 and WAC. Foremost among his Nevada signees was three-time WAC Player of the Year and All-American Nick Fazekas (2004-07), the school's all-time scoring leader with 2,464 points. Fox also played key roles in bringing 2004 WAC Player of the Year and NBA first-round draft pick Kirk Snyder to the program, as well as prep All-American Luke Babbit, former Wolf Pack all-conference selections Todd Okeson and Kevinn Pinkney to name a few. Most recently, Fox added to this list 2011 McDonald's All-America guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia's first such national honoree in almost 20 years.
In addition to his recruiting prowess, Fox has also built a name for himself in the area of player development. His prime example is former Nevada guard Ramon Sessions, lightly recruited out of high school but who has quietly put together a solid career in the NBA. In February of 2012, website RealGM.com ranked Fox first nationally among all college coaches in player development, adding that he "has truly been fantastic at getting the most out of his players."
Fox played college basketball at Garden City (Kan.) Community College (1987-89) under former Nevada head coach Jim Carey and then lettered two seasons at Eastern New Mexico University (1989-91) in Portales, N.M. He was a first-team Academic All-Lone Star Conference selection in 1991.
He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in physical education from Eastern New Mexico in 1991 and obtained a master's of science degree in athletic administration and sports psychology from the University of Kansas in 1996.
Fox and his wife, Cindy, have two children: a son, Parker (11), and a daughter, Olivia (9).
Birthdate/Birthplace: January 13, 1969 in Salina, Kan.
Hometown: Garden City, Kansas
Family: Wife - Cindy
Children: Parker (11), Olivia (9)
Garden City Community College (1987-89)
Eastern New Mexico, B.S. in Physical Education, 1991
University of Kansas, M.S. Athletic Administration/Sports Psychology, 1996
Assistant Coach, University of Washington, 1991-93
Assistant Coach, Kansas State University, 1994-2000
Associate Head Coach, University of Nevada, 2000-04
Head Coach, University of Nevada, 2004-09
Head Coach, University of Georgia, 2009-Present
Year-by-Year Head Coaching Record