COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio High School Athletic Association Executive Director Dr. Dan Ross has decided to step down Sept. 15. The OHSAA Board of Directors accepted his resignation Thursday morning at its regularly scheduled meeting.
The OHSAA announced the news on its Twitter account. A formal news release will be posted this afternoon. The OHSAA did not offer details on how it plans to name the next individual for the position.
#OHSAA BOARD MEETING: The board has accepted the resignation of OHSAA Executive Director Dr. Dan Ross, effective September 15. Dr. Ross has been the OHSAA Commissioner since August 1, 2004. Press release coming this afternoon. Thank you Dr. Ross! pic.twitter.com/gYpO0BZFbV
— OHSAA Sports (@OHSAASports) January 18, 2018
Ross succeeded former OHSAA Commissioner Clair Muscaro. In 2004, Ross called the commissioner position a "dream job."
“When Dan came around to the association he gave it a shot in the arm,” said Lakota West Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Scott Kaufman, a member of the Southwest District Board. “He led the association with some dramatic upgrades and improvements. He was visible and accessible. He was always an advocate for schools and kids.”
Kaufman said Ross helped the OHSAA advance into the new century and was proactive in technology, equity for schools and discovering solutions for high school athletics for its 822 member high schools.
“I am grateful for his service,” Kaufman said. “I think he is absolutely the most first-class person you can ever meet.”
The OHSAA adopted a competitive balance plan unique to Ohio this school year after it was passed in May 2014 after it failed on three different occasions prior to that. However, competitive balance has not come without scrutiny in the Southwest District; flaws have been found.
This past spring, reaction of implementation this school year ranged from a shrug of shoulders to outright opposition from Cincinnati-area athletic directors.
“It certainly won’t be perfect in the beginning,” OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross told WCPO in March 2017. “But, it is to help start make modifications in how schools get their enrollment. When those modifications occur I think most schools feel very comfortable. It’s as if a coach said, ‘I don’t mind playing that school if they got their kids the same I did.’ And if they didn’t there is a modification.”
Ross became the ninth commissioner of the OHSAA Aug. 1, 2004. A native of Portsmouth and a 1967 graduate of Columbus St. Charles High School, Ross served as a superintendent, principal, teacher, counselor and coach for 30 years.
"Dr. Ross came to the OHSAA at a time when it needed a leader with strong people skills and the ability to shift its focus to what's best for the student-athlete," Wyoming Athletic Director Jan Wilking said. "Over the last 15 years he has built strong relationships with member schools and put the student-athlete first in decision-making. We look forward to the next commissioner maintaining the high standards Dr. Ross has set for member schools."
Ross earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Xavier University in 1973. He has earned many awards for this service in education.
Ross battled through health issues in recent years. He suffered a heart attack in late 2015 and later underwent a procedure to have an artificial heart pump installed, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Ross, 68, returned to work full-time in the early part of 2017 and told the media and school administrators he was committed as always to the position.
“Dr. Ross was a people person,” said Western Brown Athletic Director Tim Cook, who also sits on the Southwest District Athletic Board. “He always made you feel important and took time to speak to you anytime and anywhere.”
Cook, who served on the OHSAA Board of Directors from 2013 to 2015, said Ohio high school sports is better because of Ross.
“His No. 1 priority was the student-athletes,” Cook said. “He made a lot of much-needed changes during his time in the OHSAA office. We are definitely in a better place with the leadership of Dr. Ross.”