Coach & Alum Tony Cross ('74) Passes Away
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Anthony (Tony) George Cross, age 64, passed away Wednesday, April 12, 2017 in Murray, KY. Tony was born in Knoxville, TN and attended Karns High School, then received a scholarship to play basketball for Belmont University. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration and later received his master's degree in elementary education from the University of Tennessee. He began his basketball coaching career at Norma Elementary School, where he coached both the boys' and girls' teams. He then became the girls' head basketball coach at Lake City High School where the team earned the No. 1 ranking in Class AA in his fourth season, and Cross was honored as the East Tennessee Coach of the Year. Cross served 1 year as the girls' head basketball coach at the newly opened Anderson County High School before he moved to the University of Tennessee in 1983 to serve as a graduate assistant for Pat Summitt. In 1984, Coach Cross became the head women's basketball coach at Belmont University and lead the program for 26 years. During his tenure, Belmont made numerous tournament appearances, won several district titles and regular season championships, and 1 Atlantic Sun tournament title, giving the program its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. In 1994, Cross was inducted into the Belmont University Athletic Hall of Fame. He still remains the winningest coach in program history and ranks in the Top 50 all-time in career victories in NCAA women's basketball. In 2010, Cross became the assistant women's basketball coach at Murray State University where he finished his career in 2016. Everyone who knew Coach Cross knew that coaching basketball meant much more to him than just wins and losses or receiving awards and recognition. It meant teaching fundamentals and work ethic, building character and teamwork, and passing along the wisdom and knowledge that helped his players remain successful long after their playing days were over. He often referred to his players as "his girls" because they meant so much more to him than just athletes who would come and go. He loved nothing more than keeping in touch with them, following their careers, and hearing about their families. Tony and his wife, Lois, both considered themselves blessed to have had the opportunity to share their lives with so many strong, outstanding women as well as becoming close friends with many coaches. He attended Memorial Baptist Church and enjoyed traveling with his wife Lois and watching all sporting events. Having no children, Tony enjoyed being "Uncle T" to his nephews, Lee and Drew, taking them special places and just spending time with them. And of course, all who knew Tony knew he had a fantastic sense of humor. His quick wit and unique perspective have provided many laughs through the years and will continue to do so in the days ahead. Tony was preceded in death by parents Cleois and Chlora Cross and mother-in-law Wanda Wilder. He is survived by his wife, Lois; aunts, Sarah Gaylor and Trula Huddleston; uncle, Estel Woodward (Valerie); father-in-law, Virgil Wilder; sisters-in-law, Lesa Williams (Tim) and Rita Wilder; nephews, Lee (Rachel) and Drew (Michelle) Irons, and Travis (Amy) Williams; nieces, Lindsey Wilder and Kala (Beau) Young, and much loved pet, Gracie. Visitation will take place Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 from 1-3 p.m. at J.H. Churchill Funeral Home in Murray, KY with a memorial service following at 3 p.m. in the chapel of the J.H. Churchill Funeral Home with Rev. Martin Severns officiating. The family of Mr. Anthony Cross would prefer expressions of sympathy be made to the Anna Mae Owen Hospice House, 803 Poplar Street, Murray, Kentucky 42071, Memorial Baptist Church, 906 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky 42071, the Humane Society of Calloway County, Po Box 764, Murray ,Kentucky 42071, or your local Animal Humane Society. Online condolences can be left at, www.thejhchurchillfuneralhome.com.
Content provided by J.H. Churchill Funeral Home..