Ross steps down as Calvin women's basketball coach

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After 13 years at the helm of the Calvin women's basketball program, John Ross is stepping down as head coach. He will continue to serve as an associate professor in the kinesiology department and as Calvin's head coach in men's tennis. 

Ross made the announcement to his team last evening. 

"At Calvin, I've had three different jobs: serving as a professor and coaching men's tennis and women's basketball," said Ross. "As a faculty member, the academic demands have grown to the point where I knew I would need to give up coaching either men's tennis or women's basketball while continuing to serve on Calvin's faculty. I have gone back-and-forth between the two sports and recently made the difficult decision to give up coaching women's basketball. I feel God is calling me to spend more time as a professor at Calvin and also with the men's tennis team.

"I would like to thank the Calvin community, the athletic department, my family, all my former players and coaches, with a special thanks to Marissa Anderson who been with me for the past 11 years, both as a player and as an assistant coach. My goal is to write a few books that can be used for college physical education classes. I would also not rule out coaching basketball again at some time in the future, potentially as an assistant coach."

During his 13 years as Calvin's head coach, Ross' teams went 299-67 overall for a winning percentage of .817. During that 13-year run, Calvin won six MIAA titles and made eight trips to the Division III NCAA Tournament with four appearances in the quarterfinals (2005, 2007, 2012, 2015).

Prior to the 2015-16 season, Ross was ranked sixth among all active NCAA Division III women's basketball coaches in terms of winning percentage, and he is the all-time leader in Calvin women's basketball coaching history for both victories and winning percentage.

During the recently completed 2015-16 season, Calvin was 20-6 overall and finished second in the MIAA regular season. Calvin's 20th win of the season was an 88-77 upset of third-ranked Hope and allowed Ross to reach the 20-win plateau for the 10th time in his Calvin coaching career. In 2014-15, Ross led Calvin to its first-ever 30-win campaign as the Knights finished 30-1 overall, capturing MIAA regular season and MIAA Tournament titles and then advancing to the national quarterfinals for the fourth time under his watch. 

His teams have also sparkled in the classroom, earning MIAA Team GPA honors 10 times. In addition, his teams have been named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Division III Academic Top 25 Honor Roll six times, finishing as high as fifth on the list in 2009 with a team GPA of 3.503. Ross has also coached two recipients of the prestigious Division III Jostens Trophy (awarded for excellence in the classroom, on the court and in the community). Lisa Winkle won the award in 2007 and Carissa Verkaik was so honored in 2013; both players also were CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.

A native of Manitowoc, Wis., Ross earned a Bachelor of Science degree from UW-Oshkosh in 1990 and was a member of the men's tennis team for three years. In 1994, he earned a Master of Science degree from Eastern Illinois.

Ross began his basketball coaching career in 1991 as an assistant coach at Matoon High School in Mattoon, Ill., a position he continued until 1994. During the 1998-99 season, he served as a volunteer assistant coach for the women's basketball team at UW-Oshkosh. Ross then accepted a teaching and coaching position at Earlham in 1999 and served as an assistant men's basketball coach through the 2002-2003 season as well as the school's head men's and women's tennis coach. He then took over the Calvin women's basketball and men's tennis programs during the 2003-04 academic year and has held both positions since.

"We are extremely grateful for the years of leadership and Christian mentorship that John Ross has given to the Calvin women's basketball program," said Calvin co-director of athletics Nancy Meyer. "He has consistently taught his players to pursue excellence, both int he classroom and on the court." He will be difficult to replace, but we are also grateful that he will remain as men's tennis coach and as a faculty member."

Jim Timmer, Calvin's co-director of athletics, also had words of praise and admiration for Ross. "The thing that stands out the most to me about John is that he has run a women's basketball program that exemplifies class," said Timmer. "His teams have had great success but they have also done things the right way."

According to Timmer and Meyer, a national search for a new head women's basketball coach will begin immediately.


*10 Seasons of 20 wins or more
*Eight trips to the NCAA III Tournament
*Four trips to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA III Tournament
*School record 30-win campaign in 2014-15
*WBCA Division III Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2015
* Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2015
*Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Michigan Women's Basketball Coach of the Year in 2011.
*Coached Jostens Trophy Recipients Lisa Winkle (2007) and Carissa Verkaik (2013)
*Two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (Lisa Winkle & Carissa Verkaik)
*Coach of 10 teams that were the recipient of MIAA Team GPA Award for producing team GPA of 3.30 or above
*Coach of six teams that were named to WBCA Division III Academic Top 25 Honor Roll