October 15, 2003 by

Bobby Cox


Categories: Sports

Robert deLafayette Cox, a former football star at the University of Minnesota, died on Oct. 3 from pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Born in poverty, Cox ran away from his Los Angeles home at 14. He moved to Washington and stayed with several families so he could complete his education. At Walla Walla High School, he excelled at athletics, receiving all-state recognition in basketball, football and track.
Cox spent two years at the University of Washington before transferring to the University of Minnesota, where he led the Golden Gophers to a 6-1-2 record in 1956. For his efforts, Sports Illustrated pictured Cox on the cover of its Nov. 4, 1957 issue and named him the best college quarterback in the U.S. He was also a Heisman Trophy candidate during his senior season.
“I never had anybody who wanted to win more than he did. He was willing to pay the price to be successful,” Gophers coach Murray Warmath said.
The Los Angeles Rams tapped Cox in the fourth round of the NFL draft. He attended the Rams’ training camp in 1958, but didn’t make the final roster. Instead he played in the Canadian Football League and for the Boston Patriots until three concussions forced him to retire. In his post-football years, Cox founded World Travel and Incentives, Inc., a $55 million travel management company.

4 Responses to Bobby Cox

  1. Lorraine

    I lived just a few doors from Bobby Cox when he was in High School. His brother George was in my class. Bobby Cox did not run away from home. He moved with his family, father, mother, brother & sister to Walla Walla. I was in his house many times, his mother was a very kind sweet lady, she was of Mexican decent. She loved to play the piano & sing, I remember her having a very soft seet voice, his brother George was a good student getting A’s & B’s. The family was only there for 2 years and then they moved away. That is probably when Bobby went to live other people in town because he did stay when his family left. Sometimes our family isn’t what we think they should be & we make up stories to give ourselves they family. I don’t know that Babby did that but his family were good people.

  2. Robert B Cox

    I wanted to thank you for the tribute you wrote here for Bobby Cox. What a wonderful thing to find someone who knew the family back then. I am his first son, Robert B Cox. I was touched to read the very kind words you wrote about my father’s family. My own childhood memories of getting together with my Dad’s mother Isabel, his sister Dolores and brother George all came back to me. I am very happy to know that you recall the Cox family with such sincere and kind thoughts. His mother Isabel, my grandmother, was indeed a very kind and sweet woman. And she was inspirational to me with her love of music. She was a joy to be around. I loved my father very much, and I grew up hearing him tell the story of how he “ran away” from home. Several years ago, I had lunch with his sister, my Aunt Dolores, here in California when she briefly moved back out here to be with family. She also told me what you wrote: that my father did not actually run away. According to her, the family moved to Washington to receive dental care from a friend that their father knew. At least, that’s the story she told me. My dad was a wonderful father, and yet he could be a complicated man at times when it came to discussing his family history. I simply try to understand that he was who he was, and that means he was sometimes many things to many people. I miss him very much, as do my brother and sister.
    Anyway, I hope you know that I appreciate your note here at the Blog site.
    Bobby Cox (bobbyswamp@aol.com)

  3. Ralph Rotzien

    On January 28th 2006 I ran into Bobby’s daughter on a Minneapolis Metro Transit bus. I said Hello to Bill Lineham who happened to be seated acrossed from me. During the conversation Bill told me the story of going to the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul Minnesota and ran out of money and had to enroll in the University of Minnesota where he graduated from and played for the Golden Gophers with Bobby Cox. He is 78 years old now and has gloucoma and his old injuries are coming back to haunt him

  4. Chris Cox

    Robert De Lafayette Cox. Dad was an amazing father, friend, and role model. Salud! We miss you SO much!!!
    Chris Cox (flyccox@aol.com)

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