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Bobby Ross
Bobby Ross.jpg

Title Head Coach
Sport Football
Born December 23, 1936 (1936-12-23) (age 73)
Place of birth Richmond, Virginia
Career highlights
Overall 100-92-2
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1990)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1990)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1990)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1990)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1991)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
The Citadel
Georgia Tech
San Diego Chargers
Detroit Lions

Robert Joseph Ross (born December 23, 1936, Richmond, Virginia) is a retired college and NFL football coach. His career as a college head coach included stints at The Citadel, the University of Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Army. He also coached the National Football League's San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions.

Highlights of his coaching career include winning the National Championship at Georgia Tech in 1990, and guiding the San Diego Chargers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIX. He owns a career record of 100-92-2 throughout 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach, and a 77-68 record as a head coach in the NFL.





After graduating from Benedictine High School in 1955, he enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute, where he started at quarterback and defensive back for two seasons and served as captain of the football team as a senior. Ross graduated from VMI in 1959 with a bachelor of arts degree in English and History.


Early years

Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant (1960-62), Ross found work coaching high school football. He coached at Colonial Heights High School, and at his own nearby alma mater of Benedictine, both located near Richmond, Virginia. He then moved on to coaching at the college level, starting with assistant coaching stints at William & Mary, Rice, and Maryland before accepting his first head coaching job in 1973 at The Citadel, located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ross was the 16th head college football coach for the The Citadel Bulldogs and held that position for five seasons, from 1973 until 1977. His career coaching record at The Citadel was 24 wins, 31 losses, and 0 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him seventh at The Citadel in total wins and 16th at The Citadel in winning percentage. [1]

Ross then spent four years as an assistant coach with the Kansas City Chiefs (1978-81)[2] before returning to the collegiate ranks as head coach at Maryland. He won three Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships while at Maryland. After four years, Ross left Maryland to coach the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. As head coach of Georgia Tech in 1990, he led the Jackets to a 11-0-1 record and the ACC championship--the school's first conference title since 1952, while they were still in the Southeastern Conference. They also won the national championship by finishing first in the final Coaches' Poll. Ross won the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award and the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.[3][4][5]

San Diego Chargers

He then left to become head coach of the San Diego Chargers,[6] where the highlight of his tenure would be an AFC Championship and San Diego's first trip to the Super Bowl after the 1994 season. Ross' first season in San Diego (1992) saw the Chargers drop the first four regular season games, but they recovered to win 11 of their final 12 games to win the AFC West, their first Division Title since 1981.[2] In his 5 seasons with the Chargers, they won 2 Division Titles and made the playoffs 3 times. His regular season coaching record with the Chargers is 47-33, and 3-3 in the playoffs.

Detroit Lions

Following the 1996 season, Ross left the Chargers to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions, a position he held until the middle of the 2000 season. Ross became frustrated in Detroit at what he perceived to be the team's lack of effort, accusing them of just playing for their paychecks.[7] In November 2000, following a home loss to the Miami Dolphins, having had enough of what he called his team's unwillingness to "fight back," he resigned in mid-season.[8] Although his frustration with the Lions organization was evident, Ross would later claim that his primary reason for leaving when he did was due to blood clots in his legs.[2] The Lions, whom Ross led to the postseason in 1999, have not returned to the playoffs since Ross's departure.

Army Black Knights

As head coach at Army, Ross reportedly received $600,000 in annual salary, which was seen as evidence of Army's eagerness to right the program after the team's 0–13 record in 2003.[9] During his three year term as Army head coach, Ross improved their record to 9-25, up from 4-32 over the three years before Ross's arrival. Ross retired from coaching in 2007.[10][11]

Personal life

Ross and his wife, Alice, have three sons, two daughters, and 15 grandchildren. Their sons Chris and Kevin graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and Naval Academy, in 1984 and 1988, respectively. Kevin served for a time as Army's offensive coordinator and running backs coach under his father, but was not kept in that post under Ross's replacement, Stan Brock.

Head Coaching Record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
The Citadel (Southern Conference) (1973–1977)
1973 The Citadel 3-8-0
1974 The Citadel 4-7-0
1975 The Citadel 6-5-0
1976 The Citadel 6-5-0
1977 The Citadel 5-6-0
Citadel: 24-31-0
Maryland (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1982–1986)
1982 Maryland 8-4-0 5-1 2nd L Aloha 18 20
1983 Maryland 8-4-0 5-1 1st L Citrus 24
1984 Maryland 9-3-0 6-0 1st W Sun 9 12
1985 Maryland 9-3-0 6-0 1st W Cherry 17 18
1986 Maryland 5-5-1 2-3-1 5th
Maryland: 39-19-1
Georgia Tech (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1987–1991)
1987 Georgia Tech 2-9-0 0-6 8th
1988 Georgia Tech 3-8-0 0-7 8th
1989 Georgia Tech 7-4-0 4-3 4th(t)
1990 Georgia Tech 11-0-1 6-0-1 1st W Citrus 1 2
1991 Georgia Tech 8-5-0 5-2 2nd W Aloha
Georgia Tech: 31-26-1
Army (Independent) (2004–2006)
2004 Army 2-9-0
2005 Army 4-7-0
2006 Army 3-9-0
Army: 9-25-0
Total: 103-101-2
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.


In 1997, was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

See also


  1. ^ Citadel Coaching Records
  2. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Justin (2006-06-30). "Army's Bobby Ross: A lifetime in football". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  3. ^ Clarke, Michael (2005-09-16). "Football program builds on strong history". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  4. ^ "1990 National Championship". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  5. ^ "Past Winners". Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  6. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: PRO FOOTBALL; Ross to Leave Ga. Tech And Coach Chargers". New York Times. 1992-01-01. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  7. ^ Freeman, Mike (1998-10-11). "PRO FOOTBALL: NOTEBOOK; Ross Accuses His Lethargic Lions (1-4) of Playing Only for Their Paychecks". New York Times.,%20Bobby. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  
  8. ^ George, Thomas (2000-11-08). "ON PRO FOOTBALL; In Detroit, a Coach Is Undone in Full View". New York Times.,%20Bobby. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  
  9. ^ Pennington, Bill (2003-12-27). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Army Views Hiring as Money Well Spent". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-30.  
  10. ^ "Bobby Ross Announces Retirement From Coaching". 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  11. ^ "Ross retires after 3-9 season at Army". ESPN ( 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  

External links


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