Anybody Remember the Bobby Ross Incident in Kenan Stadium?

One of the problems associated with writing for over three years on this site and on numerous message boards before that, is that I can't always remember what I have written about. I can use the archives section of this board to determine if I have written about it here, but I have to rely on my memory which is not always accurate to determine whether I wrote about a given subject on a message board. I am pretty sure I haven't written about Bobby Ross on this site, but if I have, please be understanding. For those of you who are younger, be patient. If you are lucky, you are going to get your shot at aging and, in all likelihood, you will have a better understanding of what I am talking about then.

I don't know Bobby Ross, but I have heard him talk to a group. It was sort of weird because I didn't know who it was that was talking to a group at the local Golden Coral where I used to go occasionally for breakfast. I was seated outside a partitioned section of the restaurant and could hear a speaker on the other side of the partition and it was easy to determine that the speaker knew a lot about football. I later learned that the group Bobby Ross was speaking to was an organization of local high school game officials and coaches, both active and retired. BR is originally from Richmond and he knew many of the individuals to whom he was speaking on a personal basis. BR now lives in Lexington, Va. which is not too far from Richmond and I wondered how he could have considered applying for the Duke job in that he would have to move from Lexington to Durham. I speak from experience since I lived in Durham for four years and that's all I will say on the subject. Duke may have made a decision on its coaching vacancy by the time this article appears and it may very well be that BR didn't have a decision to make since Ted Roof made a very strong finish to the season and looks like to a good bet to be the Blue Devil's next Head Coach.

BR is a good speaker. Not polished like some others but a blue collar type who comes across as very knowledgeable and entertaining. He relayed many anecdotes about his coaching experiences and occasionally brought the house down with his self deprecating brand of humor. The only specific fact I can remember is that he said Junior Seau was the best football player he had ever been associated with.

When I wrote about this chance encounter with BR on one of the message boards, the question of BR's brush with a game official in Kenan Stadium after a game was brought up. Some of the posters were sure that it was while he was head coach at Georgia Tech, but they were wrong. Finally a poster said they were sure it was Maryland because the father of a co-worker was an official in the game. I won't go into all the details, but BR accosted a game official after he felt his team had not been treated fairly on a time out during the game. The incident looked a lot worse than it really was but BR should have had better control of his emotions and he should have known the situation had the potential for a PR disaster.

He charged across the field and directly in front of the old Field House and actually touched the official with his hand which everyone knows is an absolute no no. I really think he was just trying to have the situation explained to him but that's not the way it looked. Very quickly, a police officer interceded and separated BR from the official. I can't remember if he received any disciplinary action as a result of the incident, but you can bet that many fans and TV viewers had a different opinion of BR afterwards. Seems like, according to BR's story, he had not been treated fairly regarding a time out and it subsequently cost Maryland the game. I said I wouldn't go into the details and there I go violating my promise.

At any rate, the press reports that BR was being considered for the Duke job brought back these memories and I thought I would share them with you. BR is well thought of in football circles and Duke could do a lot worse. He is moving up in age, however, and you know how that goes. Every school wants to hire someone who has plenty of years left, in case he turns out to be good. Another consideration is that I'm sure BR is financially set for life and that always raises a question about motivation and willingness to do what is necessary to lead a program trying desperately to elevate itself. Oh, another BR fact. He is the only man I know of who broke the unwritten rule prohibiting a head coach from going directly from one ACC school to another in the same capacity. Mike O'Cain doesn't count since he did not go to UNC as a Head Coach and Al Groh had a stint in the pros between his tenure at Wake Forest and becoming the head man at Virginia. Dooley coached at two ACC schools but was at Virginia Tech in between UNC and Wake Forest.