Ross resigns as football coach
■ He was the leader of the Panthers’ football program for nine seasons.
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.”
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.