By Thomas Sellers Jr.
To be a five-tool players takes at least five investors.
Munford Cougar standout Shane Cox possesses speed, power, the ability to hit for average, fielding and arm strength. In addition to God-given talent, Cox had the support of his Head Coach Scotty Yount, grandfather Chris Ellison, big brother Taylor Ellison and his mother Erica Cox.
All that support from the field to his home life helped Shane make his dream come true Dec. 17 in the Munford High School Cafeteria. Cox inked his national letter of intent to play for The University of Memphis Baseball team.
“It feels amazing,” Shane said. “I worked hard and I have to thank God, then my family and everyone who supported me along the way. I’m just thankful to be in this position that I am.
“It makes me feel good about myself,” he continued. “But then again I have to stay humble and I can’t let it get to my head. And I have to just keep moving forward with what I have.”
Cox will be added to the mix of U of M Head Coach Daron Schoenrock when he enters his 16th season at Memphis. The Tigers have reached the NCAA Tournament under the guidance of Schoenrock and sent several players into the Major Leagues. The Tigers are a Division I squad playing in the American Athletic Conference.
“He’s determined to go all the way,” Erica said of her son. “He sets goals and he’s going to reach them. His hard work paid off. He wants to go all the way to the Major Leagues. The ability to play the game, know the game and be a leader on the field stood out separates him.”
The first person to see that Shane had Division I talent and potential to play in the Big League was the former Cougar Taylor.
“His older brother say it before us,” Chris Ellison said. “He brought it to our attention. And as Shane ages, it became more evident what his older brother saw in him. We started to see it also. It’s ongoing. He’s made believers out of all of us.”
Granddad jumped in to give his support to grandson through lessons and taking him to Memphis Tiger Traveling games.
“I think this is a great achieve for him with all his hard work,” Chris said. “This kind of culminates what he’s been working for. Certainly proud of him, always proud of him, especially on this day for his accomplishment. He puts his whole heart into it. And that’s what I admire most about him — his heart.”
Yount said having a player with the passion of Shane has been a blessing from day one of his tenure with Munford.
“We knew when he came in his skill set was above average,” the veteran Skipper recalled. “His baseball knowledge and IQ was high. Strengthwise it was there as a freshmen that he could play. He ended up hitting .303. He played every inning since he’s been here. I don’t think he’s ever been out the game.”
Shane has been the primary shortstop for the Cougars since his freshman year and has spent some time on the mound. He will continue to be the leadoff hitter for Munford and see a few more reps pitching in 2021.
“From a baseball standpoint you look at a guy to have those five tools,” Yount added. “He has all of them. He can run. He’s got a good arm. He can hit for average. He can hit for power. He catches the ball really good. He’s the prototypical shortstop these days.”
Cox said it was good coaching, natural talent, work ethic and his support system that made his D-I dream come true.
“My brother being hard me, really hard on me,” he recalled. “We’ll be out there and I was 10 years old, he’ll be throwing it as hard as he can. He was in high school and I think that helped me out seeing that so young.”
Shane pays tribute to his grandfather’s sacrifice.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to travel and do what I love during the summer,” Shane said. “He took a lot of time out of his personal stuff to help me. And help me get to where I want to go.”
And on a daily basis, Shane said he watch his mother exemplify putting others ahead of herself and giving her last to make sure he had what he needed.
“She motivated me a lot,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have the motivation to get to the next level and make college free so she don’t have to worry about paying for anything. That’s what I did and I’m thankful for that.”
He’s hoping to reach his dream of the Major Leagues to make sure his mother is fine down the line. But for now Shane wants a complete season and trip to Murfreesboro.
“It’s going to take a lot, everybody on the team from freshmen to seniors,” he concluded. “Really looking forward to the pitching this year. We’ve got a lot of good arms. The defense is stout. We need to work on hitting, that’s what we need to focus on the most.”