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Ross retires after 3-9 season at Army

1/29/2007 - Army Black Knights

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Bobby Ross retired Monday as Army's
football coach, and without a victory over Navy in his three
seasons with the Black Knights.

The former NFL coach, who had a 9-25 record at Army, will be
succeeded by offensive line coach Stan Brock.

"I think there's a point in time when you feel like it's your
time to retire, and I think I've reached that time," the
70-year-old Ross said in a statement. "I think there is an issue
of having a certain degree of energy, which I feel is very
important for anyone leading a college football program. I feel
that I was lacking in that area."

Army athletic director Kevin Anderson said Ross told him of his
decision on Thursday night.

"He came back from a recruiting trip and had to go home because
he was ill," Anderson said. "He looked at me in the eye and said,
'I can't give the energy.' He didn't want to shortchange the
academy or the cadets."

The 48-year-old Brock, who played for Ross on the 1995 San Diego
Chargers team that reached the Super Bowl, said he was surprised,
even though he and Ross had talked about the future.

"He knew it was my ultimate goal, but the timing was a shock,"
said Brock, who has never been a head coach at the Division I level
but had five years of head coaching experience in the Arena
Football League before coming to West Point with Ross. "I thought
coach was going to be here."

Ross came out of retirement to coach a team that had been on a
15-game losing streak and was the first in NCAA history to finish a
season 0-13 (2003).

Speculation that Ross might leave began shortly after Army's
26-14 loss to the Midshipmen in December. The Black Knights
finished the season on a six-game losing streak. Ross' son, Kevin,
the offensive coordinator, took much of the blame for the Black
Knights' sputtering offense.

Before his arrival at West Point, Ross was 77-68 in the NFL with
the Chargers and Detroit Lions and spent 15 years as a college
coach, including stints with The Citadel (1973-77), Maryland
(1982-86) and Georgia Tech (1987-91). His 1990 Georgia Tech team
went 11-0-1, sharing the national title with Colorado. His college
record was 94-76-2 before he accepted the Army job.

"I think there is an issue of having a certain degree of energy, which I feel is very
important for anyone leading a college football program. I feel that I was lacking in that area."
-- Bobby Ross

Ross, a Virginia Military Institute graduate, hoped to duplicate
what he had done at Georgia Tech in the late 1980s. And after two
seasons of improvement -- Ross had nearly the same record at Army
(6-16) as he did at Georgia Tech (5-17) -- he seemed to be right on
track.

But Georgia Tech went 7-4 in Ross's third year and was
co-national champion with an 11-0-1 mark the next season (1990).
Ross's third year at West Point started at 3-3, but the Black
Knights lost their last six games by an average of 20 points.

Still, there have been signs of progress. Army won seven of its
last 17 games under Ross, and nine of the last 16 losses have been
by 14 points or less. In the three seasons (2001-03) that preceded
Ross's arrival, Army was 4-32, suffering those 32 losses by an
average of 21.6 points.

"Coach Ross has improved our program dramatically," Anderson
said. "I know that he's having a hard time leaving because he
feels he has the program where he wants it. It was hard for him to
walk away."

Despite his workaholic ways -- Ross said he took off only six
days last summer -- the coach never accomplished his first goal of
winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, given each year to the
winner of the round-robin format between the three service
academies. Ross went 0-3 against Navy and 1-2 against Air Force.

The loss to Navy came on the heels of an embarrassing 43-7 loss
to Air Force at Michie Stadium in the final home game of the
season.