Alberta Lee Cox, whose success in basketball blazed a trail for so many and led into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, has passed away, the Hall has learned. Cox, 83, passed away at her home on March 23, 2015.
A 1949 graduate of Raytown High School, she was a standout player and coach in basketball. Her playing experience spanned 20 years as a member of the National AAU team, participating in tournaments that ranked fifth or better in the nation, and in two World Tournaments in 1957 and 1964. She was a USA Team member from 1955 to 1965, competing in the United States, Europe, Canada and South America.
Cox coached basketball for eight years for the Raytown Piperettes, who ranked in the top five teams in the nation. In 1965, she became the head coach for the USA National Women’s team, and became the first woman to coach a USA women’s basketball team on foreign soil in South America in 1965.
She continued as coach of the USA Women’s Basketball Team in the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, the 1967 World Tournament in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and was the first woman of a USA Olympic team sport when she took the team to the 1967 Olympic games. In 1969 and 1970, she continued to coach the USA Women’s team on the South American Tour, and in the USA.
She was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Cox received many basketball other awards including Life Membership in the National AAU and is a member of the AAU Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and an original member of Helm’s Foundation Basketball Hall of Fame. She is a recipient of the Missouri Valley Association Outstanding Athlete award in 1964, the Missouri Woman of the Year Award in 1965, and the Missouri State House of Representatives House Resolution No. 42 Achievement award in 1965.
Cox also is recognized in Marquis Who’s Who of American Women and World Notables, the National Social Directory, the International Platform Association, Personalities of the West and Mid-West, Dictionary of International Biography, the Two Thousand Women of Achievement in 1970, World Who’s Who in Finance and Industry and Who’s Who in the Mid-West.
Born Aug. 7, 1931, the daughter of Joseph Leroy and Alberta W. (Smith) Cox, Alberta later became a noted breeder, owner and exhibitor of American Saddlebred horses. She belonged to the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the J.L. Cox & Son, Inc. (Pipe-line stringing contractor specialist); Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority; Democratic State Club of Missouri and has been listed in Who’s Who in Horsedom since 1953.
She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by cousins Charles Dehlinger and wife, Sharon of Eureka, Kansas, Nancy Nibarger of Castro Valley, California and David Nibarger of Eudora, Kansas.