January 12, 2010

Two Golden Eagle coaches receive master's degrees

Tony Cox, Samantha Lovelady accept degrees at Fall commencement

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tech president Bob Bell is used to shaking the hands of many Golden Eagle coaches following the success of their teams on the field. At the recent TTU Fall commencement ceremonies, he extended a congratulatory handshake to two coaches for another reason -- to recognize them for receiving their Master's degrees.

Tony Cox, head coach for Tech's cross country and track & field teams, and Samantha Lovelady, an assistant coach with the softball team, were among those walking across the stage at Eblen Center to accept their degrees.

Cox' degree was a Master's in Exercise Science, Physical Education, and Wellness, something he felt could help him in his coaching career.

"I had been working as a chemist for over 20 years and also coaching for the past six years," Cox explained. "My chemist job ended last year, which gave me an opportunity to return to school.

"I wanted to get a master's degree in something that would help me in my coaching career. Tech's EXPW degree fit my goals and gave me the flexibility to continue to coach while working on the degree."

He says he really enjoyed going through the graduation activities.

"It has been a long time since I have walked through a graduation line, so I wanted to enjoy the experience," he says. "I enjoyed seeing the graduates getting their bachelor degrees and knowing how much that was going to change their lives. I had some family members and a few members of the track team there, and I think they liked seeing 'coach' walk through the line."

His master's in EXPW will benefit the track & field program at Tech, Cox says.

"Getting this degree has helped me understand other areas of physical education outside of what I normally do every day as a track and field coach." he says. "It will help me to be a better coach going forward, as well as possibly provide other opportunities for me professionally. 

Lovelady, who was an all-OVC infielder during her four-year career on the softball diamond, received her advanced degree in curriculum and instruction. She began working on the Master's shortly after receiving her bachelor's degree.

"I want to coach, and most colleges and universities require a master's degree from applicants for coaching positions, so it's something that should help me in advancing my career," Lovelady says.

"Not only will it help to set me apart, but it will also give me a better understanding of how students learn and what I can do to assist them in learning," she said.

Sitting in the familiar surroundings of Eblen Center along with more the 700 other graduates at the commencement ceremonies, Lovelady's thoughts settled on the fact that she was finally finished with school.

"But, in reality, I'm pretty sure I'm not done with continuing my education," she now admits.

For now, she'll return all of her efforts to assisting head coach Tory Acheson in trying to bring the Ohio Valley Conference softball title back to Cookeville.