WWU Alum Returns to Become First Female Athletic Director

Amber Cox, a William Woods University alumna who has spent
nearly seven years with the Women’s National
Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Phoenix Mercury, will return to her alma
mater to become director of intercollegiate athletics.

“Amber is the first female, and the first alum, to hold this position,”
Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, said. “I am so pleased that she has
accepted this opportunity; she is going to be a fireball!”
She added, “Amber brings a wealth of diverse experience
to the position of athletic director. As a former student-athlete at William
Woods, she also brings that unique perspective. I am confident in her ability
to lead the Owls to an even higher level of achievement in intercollegiate athletics,
with the appropriate focus on character development, academics, sportsmanship
and athleticism. As the first female athletic director in WWU’s history and her
background working in the professional sports arena, it will be exciting to see
how the program prospers with her unique touch.” 
Cox replaces Larry York, who has retired after 11 years as athletic
director at William Woods and 23 years as AD at Jefferson City High School.
“It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to return
to my alma mater and serve as the director of athletics,” Cox said. “My time as
a student-athlete at The Woods provided me with invaluable tools, both personal
and professional.
“My hope is to contribute to the great
traditions of William Woods athletics and enhance the experience of every
one of our student-athletes. I look forward to working with our talented
coaches, faculty and staff, under the great leadership of Dr. Barnett, to take
this already-successful athletic department to the next level.”

Cox earned her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from
William Woods University in 1996, with a major in communications and a minor in
physical education.  She completed her
Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at WWU in 1998.
Most recently Cox was chief operating officer for the
Mercury, and prior to that she was senior director of marketing and promotions.
The franchise won two WNBA Championships during
her tenure.
Before moving to Phoenix, Cox was assistant director of
athletics/media relations and development for Columbia College for four
years.  She worked for the American
Midwest Conference for six years as sports information director and
commissioner.  She also served a year as
Region V sports information director.
Other experiences include two years as accounts supervisor at
Visionworks Marketing and Communications, and two years as assistant sports
information director and assistant basketball coach at WWU while earning her
While a 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 was named
NAIA Honorable Mention All-America in 1994-95.
William Woods University offers 13 sports—men and
women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track and field, as well as
baseball, softball and women’s volleyball. This past academic year the Owls captured three American
Midwest Conference tournament championships and qualified nine individuals and
four teams for the NAIA National Championships. 
This past year WWU had five All-Americans. In addition, 18
student-athletes were selected NAIA Scholar-Athletes, and 71 were named
Academic All-Conference. Also, five WWU teams earned NAIA Scholar Team