MURRAY, KY (KFVS) - Murray State Athletics is mourning the loss of former women's basketball assistant coach Tony Cross.
He passed away at the age of 64 on Wednesday, March 12 in Murray.
"Not only was he an outstanding coach, but he was an extraordinary friend and colleague. He was a mentor to everyone around him and touched the lives of so many," said MSU Director of Athletics Allen Ward. "I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to work with Tony and for his service to our program. I extend to Lois and the family my sincerest thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
One of the NCAA's winningest coaches, Cross joined the Racers as an assistant coach in July 2010 after spending 26 years at the helm of the Belmont University women's basketball program.
While at MSU, Cross stayed active as an assistant coach up until this past season. During his time with the Racers, Cross was instrumental in player development, academics and recruiting.
While with the Bruins, Cross guided the team into a perennial power as a member of the NAIA and successfully transitioned the team to a winning tradition at the Division I level in the NCAA. He ended his tenure at Belmont with a 544-255 (.681) career record and was ranked 20th on the NCAA's Winningest Active Coaches (by win total) at the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
In his 26 seasons with Belmont, the team recorded 23 consecutive seasons with at least a .500 record.
Cross began his coaching career at Norma Elementary School where he led the boys' and girls' basketball teams to a combined 72-18 record in three seasons. Cross then became the head girls' basketball coach at Lake City High School for the next four seasons, guiding the team to a 103-29 record.
In his fourth season at Lake City, he was honored as the East Tennessee Coach of the Year after the team finished 35-1 and earned the No. 1 ranking in Class AA.
Later, Cross moved on to coach the Anderson City High School girls' team for one season. In 1983-84 he served as a graduate assistant for the legendary Pat Summit at the University of Tennessee before taking the head position at Belmont.
Tony Cross graduated from Belmont in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, while playing for the men's basketball team (1970-74). He earned a master's degree in elementary education from Tennessee in 1984.