Ross re­signs as foot­ball coach

■ He was the leader of the Pan­thers’ foot­ball pro­gram for nine sea­sons.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com

Bryan Ross has seen the good times and down times in 14 years as a foot­ball coach at Siloam Springs.

The last two have been par­tic­u­larly tough.

Ross re­signed as head coach Fri­day af­ter nine years in the po­si­tion with the Pan­thers and five more as an as­sis­tant coach prior to that.

Ross’ res­ig­na­tion won’t be of­fi­cial un­til the Siloam Springs School Board votes on it at a board meet­ing on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to district ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Kevin Down­ing.

Down­ing said Ross will re­main as so­cial stud­ies teacher in the Siloam Springs School District for the re­main­der of the school year.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate his hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to the foot­ball pro­gram,” Down­ing said. “He’s poured 14 years of life into the pro­gram. He’s a good man.”

The Pan­thers went 3064-1 and 13-50 in con­fer­ence games un­der Ross. Siloam Springs went 2-8 over­all and 1-6 mark in the 6A-West Con­fer­ence in 2017. The Pan­thers missed the play­offs for the third straight sea­son and en­dured their sixth straight los­ing sea­son.

Siloam Springs’ sea­son ended with a 55-21 loss at Rus­sel­lville on Nov. 3, and Ross said the fol­low­ing Mon­day he had pretty much made up his mind that he was go­ing to step down as head coach.

Af­ter meet­ing with district ad­min­is­tra­tors, Ross in­formed his coach­ing staff Fri­day af­ter­noon about his res­ig­na­tion and then told the play­ers.

“I didn’t want to have them hear it from some­body else and have the ru­mors and all that,” Ross said. “I wanted to let ev­ery­body know that this was my de­ci­sion and it wasn’t an overnight thing. I just felt like it was time to step away and re­fo­cus and hope­fully spend a lit­tle more time with fam­ily and let the Lord lead me to what he wants me to do.”

Ross joined the Pan­thers pro­gram as a part of Billy Daw­son’s staff in 2004. In that first sea­son, the Pan­thers went from win­ning just one game to eight games and ad­vanced to the Class AAAA play­offs.

Daw­son re­signed af­ter the 2004 sea­son. Clint Ashcraft took over as head coach to 2005 and he pro­moted Ross to of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

Ross helped the Pan­thers reach the AAAA play­offs four straight sea­sons un­der Ashcraft through 2008. In 2009, Ashcraft ac­cepted the head coach po­si­tion at Con­way and Ross was hired as head coach at Siloam Springs.

The Pan­thers went 3-7 in Ross’ first sea­son, but they im­proved to 5-5 in 2010, in­clud­ing a 38-31 vic­tory over Green­wood — Siloam Springs’ only vic­tory over the Bull­dogs since 1994.

The Pan­thers went 6-4 in 2011 but missed the post­sea­son af­ter los­ing to Mor­ril­ton at home on the fi­nal day of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

In 2012, Siloam Springs was re­clas­si­fied into Class 6A and moved into the 7A/6A-West Con­fer­ence as the only 6A school in the league with 7A pow­ers Ben­tonville, Rogers, Rogers Her­itage, Spring­dale, Spring­dale Har-Ber, Fayet­teville and Van Buren.

Siloam Springs went 1-10 in 2012, los­ing at Searcy 49-48 in the first round of the Class 6A play­offs, nearly com­plet­ing a rally from 28-0 down at half­time and los­ing on the fi­nal play of the game be­cause of a missed two­point con­ver­sion.

The Pan­thers tied Shiloh Chris­tian in the open­ing game of 2013 and fin­ished 3-8-1. The Pan­thers won at Searcy 26-21 in the open­ing round of the 6A play­offs and ad­vanced to the quar­ter­fi­nals where they were de­feated by Pine Bluff.

In 2014, Siloam Springs went 5-7 over­all, in­clud­ing 7A/6A-Cen­tral vic­to­ries at Alma and at Rus­sel­lville, and the Pan­thers also hosted a first-round play­off game against Texarkana, which they won 26-13. The Pan­thers were de­feated in the 6A quar­ter­fi­nals by Pine Bluff for the sec­ond straight year. It was the last time Siloam Springs made the post­sea­son. Ross was named the large schools coach of the year by NWA Me­dia af­ter the 2014 sea­son.

The Pan­thers opened the 2015 sea­son with a 3-0 mark but fin­ished 4-6 over­all and missed the play­offs.

In 2016, in­juries rav­aged the Pan­thers’ ros­ter and they fin­ished 1-9, fol­lowed by a 2-8 cam­paign this sea­son. The Pan­thers have gone 1-6 in the 6AWest Con­fer­ence in each of the last two sea­sons with both con­fer­ence wins com­ing at the ex­pense of Sheri­dan.

“We’ve had good times and bad times,” Ross said. “But it’s like I put in my (res­ig­na­tion) let­ter, it really comes down to the re­la­tion­ships. That’s what lasts. You re­mem­ber the guys and the kids that you worked with. Those are the things that are im­por­tant. Wins and losses come and go. The things that last are the re­la­tion­ships you make. Hope­fully, our kids un­der­stand that. I know the coaches do. It’s not easy, but it was some­thing I felt like was the right time to do.”

Ross said the ad­min­is­tra­tion at Siloam Springs, specif­i­cally su­per­in­ten­dent Ken Ramey, has been good to him over the years.

“I met with Mr. Ramey,” Ross said. “I love Mr. Ramey. I’d prob­a­bly run through a wall for him if he asked me to.”

Down­ing said a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing in­terim lead­er­ship of the foot­ball pro­gram un­til a new head coach is hired will be an­nounced Mon­day.

“You look at it and there’s so many good things about Siloam Springs,” Ross said. “Right now we’re kind of in a down turn. At some point it will turn back around. I couldn’t be more com­pli­men­tary of our ad­min­is­tra­tion, our kids and our coaches. I’ve been here for 14 years. There are a lot of good things about Siloam Springs and I made sure I told my coaches and play­ers that.”

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to Siloam Sun­day

Siloam Springs head foot­ball coach Bryan Ross re­signed Fri­day af­ter nine sea­sons. The Pan­thers went 30-64-1 un­der Ross, who was an as­sis­tant coach for five years prior to be­com­ing head coach.

Bryan Ross

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