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Ross returns to bench

| Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Dan Ross, the all-time coaching victories leader in Fox Chapel girls basketball history, will get a chance to help the Springdale girls find the win column more regularly next season.

Allegheny Valley school board held a special meeting and voted, 7-0, to hire Ross last week. Two members were absent.

This is Ross' first head coaching job since resigning as the Fox Chapel girls coach after the 2000-01 season with a nine-year record of 130-94.

"It's like a new beginning," said Ross, 53, of Allison Park. "You get new challenges, a new group of kids, a new opportunity to build up something that has been down for a while."

Ross received a three-year contract for $5,305 per year.

Last season, the Springdale girls went 3-9 in Section 4-AA and 7-17 overall under head coach Mark Hribar, who resigned.

The Fox Chapel girls made the WPIAL playoffs in each of Ross' final five seasons as head coach. In 1997-98, the Lady Foxes set a team single-season record with 23 wins.

"It's a great move," Allegheny Valley school board president Antonio Pollino said. "We had three great finalists. It was a tough choice.

"But I know Dan will do an excellent job. He's well organized, and he's got the proof behind it. He's real focused on the kids. We're not expecting a WPIAL championship overnight, but I think we got a good coach."

Ross recently met Springdale players and handed out the "10 commandments" of his program at an open gym. He said about 15 prospective varsity and junior players are participating in a local summer league.

"I think of myself as an old-school coach," Ross said. "I want to develop fundamentals and go from there. I like to play man-to-man, I like the kids to run a motion game, and I like to press whenever we can. I told the kids what type of shape they have to be in to play like this."

Ross said conditioning will be strongly emphasized.

Ross played for Laurel Highlands' state championship team in 1968.

Ken "Butch" Lessig, a Springdale graduate and another veteran coach, will return as a Springdale assistant, Ross said.

After resigning in 2001, Ross took a year off. Then he served as an assistant coach for the Fox Chapel girls for two years.

Last season, Ross coached the Fox Chapel freshmen boys during the absence of the head coach during a family emergency.

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