Union Pines football coach Lonnie Cox resigned from his position following Thursday’s season finale, citing a personal decision.
Cox leaves Cameron after posting a 12-7 record over his two seasons with the Vikings.
“I'll be eternally grateful that I was given the opportunity to take over a special, unique program at such a young age,” Cox said. “It was an incredible opportunity for our staff to both build and maintain a culture that was founded on discipline and fighting until the clock hit 0:00. The wins were a lot of fun, but it was humbling to watch our young men overcome adversity over and over again and make history at Union Pines. They and my assistant coaches deserve all the credit for the wins, and I accept all the responsibility for the losses.”
Union Pines Athletic Director Chad Hill said no interim will be named and the job will be posted shortly and remain open for 10 days.
According to the school’s records, he is one of three football coaches to post a winning record during his tenure. His back-to-back winning seasons is the first for the program since the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
In 2019, the Vikings made the 3A state playoffs after an 8-4 record. That season ended with a loss at West Brunswick in the first round as the Vikings posted the most points against the Trojans up to that point in the season.
Cox was hired in May 2019 after Matt Quinn resigned to take a job in South Carolina.
“Getting the opportunity to work with and learn from (former Union Pines Athletic Director) Bobby Purvis was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Cox said. “He always talked to me about being more than a football coach and having a tremendous influence on not only my football team, but the entire school and community. He will live in me the rest of my career and life.”
Along with the support of Purvis before he passed away, Cox said he appreciates the support of Hill, among others.
“I'm very appreciative of my experience with Scott Absher as well,” Cox said. “He's one of the best human beings I have ever worked for and with, and he has really been a tremendous role model for me. I truly look up to him and can only hope to be half the leader he is one day.”
Before coming to Union Pines, Cox was an assistant coach for staffs at Lumberton, Fairmont, Scotland and Southern Lee. Cox was the offensive coordinator at Fairmont and Southern Lee.
Cox said he took pride in going out and supporting the other athletic teams at Union Pines.
”Through it all, my experiences at Union Pines will have a positive impact on me the rest of my career,” he said.
With his resignation, Cox said he will continue to teach out the rest of the year at Union Pines, but ultimately wants to be closer to family in the future.
“I look forward to going home and being an uncle to my beautiful sister's baby and spending more time with my family,” Cox said. “Time is precious and something you never get back; I want to spend it with the people who mean the most to me and continue to do what I love to do most.”