Founding Father of Mills and former Athletic Director, Jim Cox, passed away in early November; a big loss to the Mills High School community.
Jim Cox was an important figure at Mills and has been admired by many faculty members and Millbrae residents. Cox was hired as the first Mills Physical Education teacher in 1958 and set a strong foundation for the school’s P.E. program. As a former Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Football player, Cox was also hired as the head coach for the Mills Football Team, teaching the players about teamwork, kindness, and sportsmanship.
“He (Cox) was one of the most professional men that I had ever worked with in my career of teaching.” explained Robert Thompson, former Mills Physical Education teacher and close friend of Cox. “He was a true mentor in the sense that he took the students as his top priority.”
Cox’s love for sports also awarded him the position of Mills’ Athletic Director in 1978, where he continued to encourage students to be more active and engage in sports.
However, it was not just Cox who was actively involved in the Mills Athletic Department. As a father of four Mills students, his family also became dedicated in helping expand the sports program as well as developing the Mills Parent Teacher Organization to support the school and its students.
According to Thompson, although Cox’s children attended private colleges, he was very much in favor of public schools and felt very strong about the San Mateo Union High School District, especially Mills. It was evident in his hard work and dedication to the community.
Thompson recalled. “He was part of a faculty that was young, many of them just getting their families started; it was a very tight faculty. Many of the teachers were close friends; they raised their kids together and went on vacations together.”
Cox was definitely a part of an unique and important aspect of the Mills community and was able to make both the students and faculty feel welcomed.
“I think he was definitely a part of creating that environment.” Thompson described.
After 36 dedicated years to teaching, Cox formally retired in 1995 and, because of his hard work and dedication, the Mills Football field was named after him.
The Mills High School community offers its condolences to the Cox family and thanks them for their wonderful contributions in providing a strong and comfortable learning environment for both teachers and students.