Ross Joins OSU As Linebackers Coach
Feb. 16, 2005
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Robin Ross has joined Oregon State's football staff as linebackers coach, OSU head coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday. Ross, a 28-year coaching veteran, spent the past four seasons coaching tight ends and special teams at Oregon; he has also coached in the National Football League and at a number of other NCAA Division I schools.
'I've known of Robin for almost 30 years, since he was at Washington State as a player,' Riley said of Ross, who graduated from WSU in 1977. 'I've known him in the coaching business the rest of the time. He's got great West Coast experience coaching and recruiting. He knows the State of Oregon, he knows the Pacific Northwest and he knows all of California, because he's originally from Southern California. Robin brings a ton of experience to our program.'
Ross coached linebackers for the NFL's Oakland Raiders in 1999-2000, while Riley was head coach of the division rival San Diego Chargers. Prior to that, he had been at Oregon as linebackers coach in 1997 and defensive line coach in 1998.
Ross, 50, has also coached at Fresno State (1996, defensive coordinator/linebackers), Western Washington (1994-95, defensive coordinator), Iowa State (1987-93, defensive coordinator), Washington State (1986, defensive line), Cincinnati (1985, defensive coordinator) and Long Beach State (1977-83, defensive line, tight ends, assistant offensive line). He served as defensive coordinator for 12 seasons during his time at Fresno State, Western Washington, Iowa State and Cincinnati and has been involved with special teams in each of his last five coaching jobs.
Ross has impressed Riley as someone who has taken players with a variety of talent levels and improved their caliber of play under his tutelage.'He's a technician and a developer,' Riley said.
In 2003, Oregon's kick return teams ranked 16th nationally in kickoff returns (23.1 avg.) and second in the Pacific-10 in punt returns (10.3 avg.). Kickoff return specialist Kenny Washington received first team all-conference honors. Ross was also responsible for the emergence of tight end Tim Day, who caught only three passes in 2002 but followed it with a 23-catch, 318-yard, three-touchdown performance in 2003.
In 2002, Oregon's special teams were the only squads in the league to rank in the top 20 nationally in kickoff returns (eighth, 23.8 avg.) and punt returns (10th, 14.9 avg.), while Duck punters led the Pac-10 and ranked 10th nationally in net punting (37.6 avg.). Individually, sophomore placekicker Jared Siegel was one of three Lou Groza Award finalists, and Keenan Howry earned Pac-10 first-team punt returner honors and ranked 17th nationally (14.3 avg.).
In 2001, Oregon ranked seventh nationally and led the Pac-10 in kickoff returns (25.8 avg.) and was eighth nationally in punt returns (14.4 avg.) as a team. Individually, Howry ranked eighth nationally in punt returns (14.5 avg.) and was an all-Pac-10 first team member, while Allan Amundson was 13th nationally in kickoff returns (27.2 avg.). He also mentored all-Pac-10 tight end and 2002 NFL draft choice Justin Peelle and 2003 NFL draft choice George Wrightster.
While coaching linebackers in the NFL for a second year in 2000, the Raiders finished the regular season ninth in the AFC in total defense (328.1 avg.) and fourth against the run (96.9 avg.) for a team that advanced to the conference championship game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Ross originally joined Oregon's staff as linebackers coach prior to the 1997 campaign. He shifted to defensive line coach in 1998 as the Ducks climbed from ninth in scoring defense in the Pac-10 and 10th in total defense in 1997 to fourth and fifth, respectively, under his direction in 1998.
Also among Ross' special teams' accomplishments were leading the nation's NAIA ranks in punt returns at Western Washington in 1994-95. The Vikings were 17-4 during Ross' two seasons and were the NAIA's No. 1-ranked team for five weeks in 1995.
Ross was an All-Pac-8 honorable mention offensive tackle for Washington State in 1975 and played two seasons with the Cougars. Ross started his college career at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, Calif., where he was an All-California lineman. He was a 1976 10th-round NFL draft selection by the San Francisco 49ers and also saw action with the Seattle Seahawks.
Ross was born in Huntington Park, Calif. and graduated from El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. He is married to Jean Ross.