GATOR CHAMPS: BILL ROSS
For Bill Ross, the Director of Athletics at Allegheny College, there is never a dull day. Throughout the year, he circulates between various committees and boards advocating for the student athletes and representing them in the best way that he can. He also is in constant contact with his fellow athletic staff and coaches to inspire them with the big picture vision and make sure everyone is on the same page. Above all, however, his favorite role as Director of Athletics is being the main source of support for all of the different athletic teams on campus.
When COVID-19 confined most people to their homes and away from normalcy, people saw their jobs change, hours cut, and life as they know it become busy in a different way. For Bill Ross, this has meant many more virtual meetings and a lot of re-planning. First are the meetings with other D3 schools and the NCAC to determine how games will take place once students return to practice and also how the school will handle health and safety issues during athletic practices.
Director Ross has also had to virtually meet with the coaches more often to keep them up to speed regarding updates from the college and in order to properly prepare everyone for when students return and athletics resume.
A positive the Bill Ross has taken away from the pandemic is the connection that Allegheny Athletics has been able to make with the Meadville community. Through an initiative called “Gator Give Back: Supporting our Home Team”, Allegheny Athletics has been able to support local restaurants in this time of need.
He described it by saying “Since we had to cancel 39 home contests, we decided to use the money we would have spent on hosting these contests (food purchases, etc) in supporting six local restaurants. We purchased gift cards and provided a generous tip for the staff at each location. We then contacted all the local first responder groups to let them know we had a gift card at these locations for their staff to utilize for a meal as a way of saying thank you for their service during these scary times.” This program was a way to give to the local businesses that have constantly supported the Allegheny Athletics community and also support the frontline workers that have been working tirelessly throughout pandemic.
While times have been tough for everyone, Bill Ross has still been able to remain an optimist. He has been spending more time with his family. With his two sons home from college, he chuckles as he admits “it has been a fun game of musical chairs as all three of us position ourselves in our favorite spots in the house to live our lives online.”
To close out, Bill Ross had some advice for the Allegheny community. He wanted to stress how important it is that we not allow ourselves to think of all the ‘what ifs’ and instead remain focused on taking on one day at a time.
Because, as he states with confidence as he signs off, “rest assured there are better days ahead”.
~~ Allegheny College Athletic Director, Bill Ross. Interviewed by Jack Barron-Sluga (Class of '22. Student Athlete. History Major, Education Studies Minor)
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