A perfect example of dedication is putting in work inside the batting cage on days when there is no practice. That’s how Brady Cox spent his Monday.
Despite the fact that UT Arlington got home late Sunday night after a weekend series at Georgia State, the senior infielder/catcher was taking cuts in the cage. There’s a reason why he’s considered the captain of the Mavericks baseball team.
“I saw the older guys my freshman year and how they carried themselves and I knew that if you weren’t trying to get better every single day, then you’re probably not going to be successful at this level,” said Cox. “Even though we had the off day today, you got to use that lightly cause if you don’t pick up a ball or pick up a bat or anything like that, then it’s going to get tough to get better.”
That kind of work ethic and mentality, along with the play on the field, has drawn interest from major league scouts. The standout from Arlington Heights High School was a 2016 Johnny Bench Award semifinalist (top Division I catcher in the nation) and hit .365 with two home runs and 41 RBI. He also had a 13-game hitting streak and finished the year with 19 multi-hit games. Cox was also named to the 2015-16 Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Academic List.
As a sophomore, Cox started 41 of the 49 games he played in, including 33 at catcher. He also played summer ball with the Liberal (KS) Bee Jays and was named to the 2015 Jayhawk League First-Team. During his freshman year, Cox hit .274 in 25 games with a season high three hits twice during the season.
Going into this senior year, Cox was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team. He’s hitting .280 with 21 hits in 75 at-bats while playing at catcher, first base and third base for head coach Darin Thomas’ squad.
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“Wherever coach needs me, I’ll play,” said Cox. “I came here as a catcher but like I said, wherever I can help coach. If he thinks we can have a better lineup with me at third, I’ll go play third. If it’s a first, I’ll go play first. It doesn’t matter where it is, I will be happy to do it. Our coaches want what’s best for the team and whatever way we can get a win. I’m going to buy into that completely.”
The work ethic that Cox displays both on and off the field can be contributed to his family.
“When I was younger, my dad always coached all the teams I was on and his big thing was attitude and effort,” said Cox. “My brother was the same way. He was just one of those guys who would work hard. He was my older brother and I looked up to him so I would do everything he did.”
UT Arlington got off to a rough start to the season with a 2-7 record in February but have countered with a 9-3 record since the calendar turned to March, including a 5-1 win over third-ranked Texas Tech at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Cox was 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored to go along with two walks in the game. The Mavericks may be getting hot at just the right time, not only because of the Sun Belt conference schedule but they also have games left with No. 4 TCU, No. 25 Oklahoma, Dallas Baptist and Texas.
“When you have a schedule like ours, if you are not executing, it’s going to be tough to win ballgames,” said Cox. “That’s kind of what was going on early but as the season has gone on, we’ve definitely have gotten better. We’re playing better baseball now.”
Being considered the team captain isn’t something that’s just handed out, it’s something that’s earned. During an off day on a warm Monday afternoon in March, Cox was showing the determination that it takes to be one.