Henry C. Cox III
Induction Year: 2022
Henry C. Cox III (1945-2022) was the original proponent of the “If I can do it, you can too,” theory, and he proved it time and time again. He came to Texas via a circuitous route that included a staff job in the USTA’s Princeton office where he was one of the pioneers of what would become Adaptive and Wheelchair tennis and Lincoln, Nebraska where he spearheaded the building of a citywide tennis center. Though not particularly tall, he was a giant in the fight to get everybody and everyone the chance to get into the game of tennis, his favorite of the many sports at which he excelled. There were no negatives in Cox’s language; everything was possible if you would just follow him and his examples. And he had lots of examples.
Cox landed in Texas in the 1980s with this can-do attitude and immediately set to work teaching, showing, motivating. He had some counseling expertise in his background and that helped him relate to kids and adults on whatever level was necessary to help. He used tennis as a lever to lift others up who might not ever have had the chance. Schools, clubs, tennis centers, parks, senior organizations, expos and the Texas Tennis Association (now USTA Texas).
Cox signed on to help in any possible way and on numerous committees: Junior Rec, Special Populations, Wheelchair, Adaptive, Multicultural, Sports Science, Adult Recreation – and he won awards for his service. He volunteered at local and state events -- Special Olympics, Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open, and even the Dwarfs Games. He started tennis associations in communities where they didn’t previously have any. He was like the Statue of Liberty of tennis – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to . . .” He was certain they yearned to play tennis and they would be better for it.
Cox might have been born with only one arm but that never slowed him down. He was always able to open doors for others. What he lacked in limbs he made up for with an oversized heart.