The following story ran in the Charleston Newspapers Gazette and Daily Mail editions both on Thursday January 1, 2009. It came as a total surprise to my family.
It was titled, "Kanawha Valley Loses Veteran Coach, Class Act". It was written by J.T. Simms one of the Daily Mail sports writers.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many people, especially the young athletes of Putnam County, lost a good friend Tuesday morning when Joe Fox passed away from a heart attack at age 72.
He worked with youth sports in the Eleanor and Buffalo areas for 48 years.
Usually referred to simply as "Coach Fox," he founded the youth basketball programs in both towns.
He coached Little League softball, was an assistant middle school boys basketball coach and was the first coach of the Buffalo freshman volleyball team.Along the way, Fox also coached baseball and assisted with both track and football. He also coached teams in various summer independent leagues.
The last eight years, he served as coach of the George Washington Middle School girls basketball program.Whenever young athletes in the Eleanor and Buffalo areas needed a program or a coach, Fox was there.
I had the privilege of coaching a Big League softball team with him one summer. First, the team won the area league. Then, we were fortunate enough to coach a very talented All-Star group from District 3 that won state and regional titles. Joe served as the manager and was always humble in the face of success and quick to give the credit to the players.
Many people, including myself, learned a great deal from Joe with his most important lessons involving how to treat others.
Married to his wife, Helen, for 52 years, Fox was the consummate family man.
He coached his daughters, Debbie and Terry, and later his grandchildren. He was looking forward to coaching his great-granddaughter, Emmy Jo.
He always was known to be one to put God, family and friends ahead of himself.
When Joe approached you, his hand always was outstretched and when he asked "How have you been doing?" he really wanted to know and honestly cared.
He will be sorely missed.
One only can assume there was an opening in heaven for someone to coach youngsters.
Thank you John....