Jim Fox was named the 21st head coach in Appalachian State University men’s basketball history on April 8, 2014.
Fox’s first two seasons at Appalachian have been years of rebuilding and progress. Despite inheriting a team that won just nine games the year before his arrival, he was able to turn the program in the right direction in just one season - both on the court and in the classroom.
Under Fox in 2015-16, the Mountaineers continued the rebuilding process earning a major program victory late in the season over the No. 35 RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) Little Rock Trojans, 69-63. Little Rock would advance to the 2016 NCAA Tournament and earn a second-round win over No. 6 seed Purdue.
Despite being picked to finish last in the 11-team Sun Belt Conference in his first season at the helm, Fox and his team stunned the experts by finishing sixth in the league in their inaugural Sun Belt campaign. In addition, the Mountaineers scored an upset over Georgia State, which would go on to win the conference and advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and pulled off a last-second win at Virginia Tech for their first win against a high-major opponent since 2007.
Appalachian also earned a regular-season win over Hampton, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and nearly pulled off the upset of an Alabama squad that made an NIT appearance at the end of the year.
Along the way, Fox and his staff helped develop scoring guard Frank Eaves, who solidified himself as one of the top players in the conference as he earned second-team all-Sun Belt honors in back-to-back seasons and was named Sun Belt Player of the Week two times and finishing third in the league in scoring in 2015-16.
Fox came to Appalachian State from Davidson, where he coached for the 13 seasons, including the last two as associate head coach.
Fox joined head coach Bob McKillop’s staff at Davidson in 2001 and helped the Wildcats through perhaps the most successful 13-year stint in the program’s celebrated history. With Fox on the bench, Davidson compiled a 288-131 overall record (.687 winning percentage), 10 SoCon regular-season championships and six SoCon Tournament titles. He helped lead the Wildcats to the postseason in 10 of his 13 campaigns, including NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Davidson advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA Tournament with wins over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin and came within two points of upsetting eventual national-champion Kansas for a berth in the Final Four.
Strong recruiting and player development have been staples of Fox’s college coaching career with student-athletes that he coached at Davidson earning all-America honors five times and all-conference accolades on 29 occasions. He also coached the SoCon Player of the Year seven times and mentored three SoCon Freshmen of the Year.
His most notable pupil was two-time All-American and 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, who played at Davidson from 2006-09. Curry was the nation’s leading scorer and a consensus first-team All-American in his final collegiate season and is currently an NBA All-Star for the Golden State Warriors. Fox also coached De’Mon Brooks, who earned honorable-mention All-America recognition in 2012 and 2014.
Also, with Fox on staff, Davidson’s NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) has consistently ranked among the best in the SoCon and the nation, with the program’s multi-year APR never dipping below 990 on a scale of 1,000 in the eight available years since the APR was introduced for the 2004-05 academic year. For five of the eight years, Davidson boasted a perfect APR of 1,000.
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks in 2001, Fox began his coaching career with five seasons as associate head coach at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, N.Y. While serving as the program’s associate head coach, he was also the head coach of the school’s freshman program, which he led to a 55-1 record and four-consecutive league championships. He also served as St. Dominic’s athletics director for one year and taught government, economics, criminal justice and psychology at the high school.
In addition to his high-school coaching duties, Fox was head coach and director of the Long Island Lightning AAU Basketball Club. In that capacity, he coached more than 20 future college-basketball student-athletes, including Bob McKillop’s son, Matt, who went on to be a three-year starter at Davidson and is now an assistant coach for the Wildcats.
A native of Levittown, N.Y., Fox, 40, attended Chaminade High School and graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1995 with a B.A. in political science.