Ross returning to coach Whiteford’s girls basketball team
OTTAWA LAKE – Timing was everything for Jim Ross.
Ross took a few years off of coaching basketball after the birth of his youngest child and when his other children were in elementary school. He’s jumped back into the fray, however, after being named the varsity girls basketball coach at Whiteford.
“There was never a specific plan to come back, but I knew I wanted to come back and coach at some point,” Ross said. “The timing seems right now. I was ready. I took time off because I didn’t have the time, but now I do.”
Ross replaces Les Manley, who coached the Bobcats for the past seven seasons. Manley retired from teaching and stepped away from coaching after this past season. He finished with a 62-78 mark with the Bobcats, including 9-12 last season.
Ross is a 1991 Milan graduate who was the Monroe County Region Player of the Year his senior season. His first coaching stop was at Dundee where he coached the Viking boys from 1997-98 to 1999-00, going 17-47.
After getting a job teaching at Whiteford, Ross was the Bobcat girls varsity coach in 2007-08, going 6-15.
He stepped down from that position and became the Whiteford boys varsity coach in 2008-09. He coached six seasons, going 96-56. His 2013-14 Bobcats team won 19 games and reached the Regional final.
Ross started summer workouts and practices earlier this month.
“We have some practices and open gyms scheduled,” he said. “A lot of our girls are playing softball, so we will wait to get into some of the shootouts and scrimmages until them. I’m working with a lot of the younger girls now, the seventh and eighth graders.”
Whiteford’s JV team had low numbers last year, but Ross is counting on at least 20 in the program this year between JV and varsity.
“If all of the girls who signed up come out, numbers won’t be a problem,” he said.
Ross said he’ll stress the same type of things he did during his previous coaching stints – fundamentals and working toward high percentage shots.
For now, he just wants the girls to put the time in getting shots and improving their game.
“They’ve got to play and shoot more,” he said. “We’ll provide the time for them to come into the gym and just shoot. That’s what I see them as needing to do right now.”
Whiteford also has a new athletic director. Jeremy Simmons was approved by the board of education Monday and has started in the position. He replaces Jason Mensing in that role at Whiteford. Mensing moved on to become the football coach at Westland John Glenn.