A Pair Of Court Marshals

SIDELINES

Annapolis' Ross Turns Program From Joke Into Playoff Contender

January 31, 1992|By Pat O'Malley

Like father, like daughter.

No, that's not a slip, but rather a reference to Teresa Ross, the Annapolis High girls basketball coach.

Ross, the 27-year-old daughter of well-known football coach BobbyRoss, is making her own mark as a successful coach, and one who has the ability to transform a loser into a winner.

Bobby turned around the fortunes at The Citadel, the University of Maryland and GeorgiaTech before recently taking the headcoaching position with the San Diego Chargers. Again, he's expected to bring a program back from the dead.

On a smaller scale, but just as important to those involved,Teresa took the reins of the Annapolis Panthers girls hoop program last year, which had become the joke of the county.

The year beforeshe arrived, the Annapolis girls had gone 3-18 with barely enough players to suit up. The Lady Panthers managed to win two more (5-17) last year in Teresa's rookie season, but more importantly, stability and discipline were restored.

"I think the girls program at Annapolis has the potential to be like the boys program," Teresa said boldly.

The boys program ranks as the best in Anne Arundel County under Coach John Brady, who has led the Panthers to more than 300 wins, one state championship and 11 regional titles in 14 seasons.

Teresa may not be the quick-change artist her father was at Maryland, but she is making progress. Dad went 8-4 his first season in 1982, becoming the first Terps coach to win eight games and have a winning record in his inaugural campaign since the legendary Jim Tatum went 7-2-2 in 1947.

Tuesday night, the Lady Panthers lifted their overall record to 7-5 with a 53-37 romp over South River.

"I love (coaching), having a really good time with the kids," said Teresa, her eyes twinkling. "I'm learning a lot and still feel very inexperienced as a coach, and I feel like there are a lot of things I don't know and need to work on. But overall, I'm really having a good time and hope to see a little bit more improvement on my part.

"I would definitely like to stick with it."

Her assistant coach, Dave Griffith, says that Teresa is a pleasure to work for, and "the girls really respect her."

Commanding the respect of your players is a Bobby Ross characteristicthat just might have been handed down to Teresa. But you won't see her asking for anything else unless she has to.

She doesn't like tobother her father because he's so busy, but admits to calling on himonce in a while. Bobby Ross showed up unexpectedly last year at one of his daughter's practices, but has never seen the Loyola College grad coach a game.

Teresa, who is working toward her master's degreeat Johns Hopkins and is substitute teaching, hopes that since dad iscoaching an NFL team -- not having to worry about recruiting and college kids getting into trouble -- it will enable him to slip back East once in a while and see her coach a game.

"I would love that, and have him come and give me some pointers," said Teresa. "He was a great basketball player (at VMI), but I don't ask him about strategy. Ionly call if I'm desperate for help, like with discipline, not getting through to a certain kid and what I can do to motivate that kid. He usually pats me on the back and gives me a few pointers.

"He's there if I need him."

Her inexperience as a coach pales in comparison to the inexperience of her players. This year's team has three sophomores -- 6-foot Shannon Henderson, Cristi Samaras and Janelle Queen-- plus 6-1 junior center Kai Simms.

That group, along with seniors Lisa Roberts and Shalundra Hunt, give the Panthers a solid, but young team.

"And we've got a couple really good freshmen down on ourJV team, which is a huge team," said Teresa.

"I'm excited about the future. I think with the combination of Cristi and Shannon and a couple other kids on the JV that not too many people know about, we will be pretty good next year."

It didn't take the personable coach long to realize the pool of talent walking the halls at Annapolis. Ross recruited girls by attending lunchtime in the cafeteria and convincing them to come out for the team.

About 50 girls came out this season, but the coach would like to see at least 80 try out.

"It's just a matter of time, getting the program on its feet, and that willmake more kids want to come out," said Ross, pointing to Henderson, who didn't play last year, but was influenced by her peers to do so this year.

Henderson was our Female Athlete of the Week Tuesday after scoring 14 points, grabbing 13 boards, blocking four shots and holding Northeast's high-scoring senior Debbi Dadds to just six points in a 49-48 upset of the Eagles.

"There are more out there, and by getting attention in the newspaper, winning more games, and with the kids talking about the team and having a good time, we'll get more to come out," said Ross, who also realizes the value of a good feeder system in your respective high school community.

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