Ross Rejoins Ducks' Football Staff

Feb. 12, 2001

EUGENE - Robin Ross, who worked as a defensive assistant at the University of Oregon during the 1997 and `98 seasons prior to serving as linebackers coach with the Oakland Raiders the past two years, will rejoin the Ducks' football coaching staff as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, according to Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti.

Ross replaces Tom Osborne, who departed following six seasons to assume the role as assistant head coach and special teams coach at Arizona State.

The 46-year-old Southern California native originally joined the Ducks' staff as linebackers coach prior to the 1997 campaign after filling the role as defensive coordinator for one year at Fresno State, and was shifted to tutor Oregon's defensive linemen in 1998.

He brings with him a reputation that has resulted in improvement wherever he has gone throughout his coaching career.

While coaching linebackers in the National Football League 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 which advanced to the conference championship game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. In his final year at Oregon, Ross was associated with a defensive unit that made vast improvements from the 1997 campaign, with the Ducks rising from ninth in scoring defense in the Pacific-10 Conference and 10th in total defense to fourth and fifth, respectively.

'I am really excited about this opportunity to become special teams coordinator, which is something I really wanted to do,' Ross said. 'However, the chance to return to work with the development of college players was something I discovered I really missed. I've enjoyed the last two years working in the NFL with some of the best football players in the world, but welcome the opportunity to return to one of the best collegiate programs in the country.'

The 24-year coaching veteran will be assuming a special teams unit which has been among the most efficient in the Pac-10 as well as the nation in recent years. Oregon finished last year 14th in the country in kickoff returns (22.54 avg.) in addition to leading the league in net punting (37.7 avg.) and kickoff coverage (16.1 avg.).

Although this marks his first effort coordinating the kicking game, he has played a role in special teams in each of his last five coaching stops, including leading the nation's NAIA ranks in punt returns during his two-year stint at Western Washington in 1994-95.

Ross' coaching career includes 12 years as a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level, adding stints at Iowa State (1987-93) and Cincinnati (1984-85) in addition to his stay at Fresno State and Western Washington. He also served as defensive line coach at Washington State in 1986 and Long Beach State from 1977-83.

'We're very excited to have Robin rejoin the Oregon football family,' Bellotti said. 'He did a great job in his previous stint two years ago in a variety of coaching positions, and I know he is very excited to take on the challenges of special teams and tight ends. He possesses the traits as an excellent technician and recruiter, with a tremendous work ethic. It's a positive step for our program to have a coach of his caliber, experience and talents want to return.'

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