Dr. Dan Ross, Executive Director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association since 2004, has announced his resignation, effective September 15. The OHSAA Board of Directors accepted Dr. Ross’ resignation letter Thursday at its regularly scheduled January meeting.
Dr. Ross began his duties as the OHSAA’s ninth commissioner on Aug. 1, 2004. He has worked in education as a teacher, administrator and official since 1971, spanning a career of 48 years that is not yet finished.
“We would like to thank Dr. Ross for all that he has done for the OHSAA and our member schools,” said Paul Powers, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and athletic administrator at Aurora High School in northeast Ohio. “Dan has done so many great things for high school sports in Ohio and has touched everyone associated with the OHSAA in such a positive way.”
Making ‘education-based athletics’ the pillar of his 14 years at the OHSAA, Dr. Ross plans to continue his passion for education and school sports in other areas. The OHSAA Board of Directors will begin implementing a succession plan and assemble a search committee for the OHSAA’s next executive director.
“I have been so blessed to serve our member schools in this capacity for 14 years,” Dr. Ross said. “I don’t plan to retire from my work of promoting all the positive things that school sports can do for our kids, schools and communities. We’ll see what the future holds for me. It’s time for me to step aside and allow for new leadership of the OHSAA. I would like to thank our current and former staff members and board members who I have worked with during my time at the OHSAA.”
“Dr. Ross has been the perfect person to lead the OHSAA,” Powers said. “He is respected by so many groups, such as administrators, coaches, officials, leaders of the other professional educational associations, lawmakers, the media and his fellow executive directors at other state associations. The list goes on and on. Being the head of an organization that enforces rules and regulations and has to make decisions that are not often popular is difficult. But anyone who has ever come in contact with Dan will tell you that he has made them feel special and always followed the motto that is on the pin he often wears on his lapel that says ‘children first.’”
Under Dr. Ross’ leadership, the OHSAA has added girls and boys bowling, dual team wrestling and girls and boys lacrosse, while also adding additional divisions in girls soccer, girls golf, boys swimming and football. In addition, the OHSAA added events for seated at the state track and field championships beginning in 2013.
In 2011 Dr. Ross began the groundwork for the Competitive Balance initiative in light of a potential split between public and private schools. The Competitive Balance plan was passed by a referendum vote of OHSAA member schools in 2014 and was successfully implemented in 2016.
Dr. Ross has strengthened the OHSAA’s partnerships with other educational service organizations by forming advisory committees with the state school boards, superintendents, principals and athletic administrators associations. He saw the OHSAA expand and diversify its Board of Directors and district athletic boards by adding female, ethnic minority and 7th-8th grade representatives. A standard statewide coaches education program was also adopted, which is required for certification.
Since his arrival, the OHSAA has strengthened its brand and awareness by creating the OHSAA Circle of Champions, increasing statewide television coverage of state tournaments, creating the OHSAA Radio Network, upgrading the OHSAA website and adding OHSAA Magazine.
Dr. Ross served on the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Review Committee and chaired the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) 2008-11 Strategic Planning Committee. He has recently been serving on the NFHS Hall of Fame Screening Committee and the Basketball Rules Committee along with the NFHS Foundation Board of Directors. He is also past president and was a member of the executive committee of the Ohio Association of Local School Superintendents, and, as president of the Avon-Avon Lake Rotary Club, he represented Northeast Ohio on a Rotary International service project in Costa Rica. In addition, Dr. Ross was an adjunct professor at Ohio University, Bowling Green State University and Baldwin-Wallace College.
Dr. Ross is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, and graduated from Columbus St. Charles High School (1967). He holds degrees from Ohio Dominican University (bachelor’s, 1971), Xavier University (master’s, 1973) and Bowling Green State University (Ph. D., 1983). Among the many positions he held prior to joining the OHSAA was superintendent of the Patrick Henry Local Schools (1983-86), Pickerington Local Schools (1986-97) and Avon Lake City Schools (1997-04). He was also a registered OHSAA contest official for 20 years in the sports of baseball, basketball and volleyball. He and his wife, Kris, have four grown children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren.