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Ross qualifies for Big Dance

Jacob Ross is going to the Big Dance.

In this case, the Big Dance is the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in Stratham, N.H. It will be held July 16-21 at the Golf Club of New England. The format will feature two days of medal play and four days of match play with around 180 other golfers from across North America.

Ross qualified for the national tourney by  winning a  qualifier tournament this week at Fallen Oak in Saucier. The 17-year-old shot rounds of 71-73-144 and shared co-medalist honors with Sheldon Statkewicz of Mobile, Ala.

Ross, the son of Wolf Hollow Gold Club’s PGA professional, Ronny Ross, labored through the heat and humidity of the steamy Gulf Coast on Monday and Tuesday. He was 3-under par after 12 holes of the second round when he became ill.

He apparently was dehydrated, causing nausea and blurred vision. Fortunately, he was able to gut his way through it and shoot a 1-over 73, giving him even par for two rounds.

“The heat usually doesn’t affect me but I started feeling sick and falling apart,” said Ross. “I was able to hold it together and finish.”

Ross credited his caddy, Jake Shelby, a high school teammate, with providing plenty of help during the 2-day tourney. “Jake did a real good job.”

Ross said Fallen Oak is a challenging course. “It is very demanding off the tee. Every shot you hit has to be on point. If you miss, you are in trouble.”

Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 195 pounds, Ross has been blessed with talent, a strong work ethic and  professional paternal guidance.  He has made a verbal commitment to sign a scholarship with Ole Miss this fall.


For sure, 2012 will be remembered as a year for changing employment.

Coaching changes continue in area schools. There are so many changes, folks need a computer to comprehend the upheaval.

It all began early in 2012. It was late April when Wade Henderson resigned his position of head football coach and athletic director at Brookhaven. Offensive coordinator Mike Powell had preceded him out the door when he accepted the head football coaching job at McComb Parklane Academy in January. Powell replaced Bo Milton who left his alma mater for a job at Winston Academy in Louisville.

Tommy Clopton became Ole Brook’s new head football coach the same day Henderson officially departed. Defensive coordinator Kelby Bowman left BHS to coach linebackers at Madison Central.       Henderson later landed the top job at Class 6A Terry, replacing Paul Anderson who went to Clinton where he was named offensive coordinator on Judd Boswell’s new staff. Boswell replaced Scott Brown who stepped down after several successful seasons.


At Wesson, principal Ronald Greer returned to the gridiron after eight years as the school’s administrator. Clopton’s departure left an opening Greer was eager to fill.

At West Lincoln, Chris Calcote elected to leave the Bears after four years at the helm. Calcote accepted the position of athletic director at his alma mater, Franklin County.

The Meadville-based Bulldogs have lost girls basketball coach Charles Moore to Hancock. FCHS boys basketball coach Chris Jordan has been selected to coach the Lady Bulldogs next season, too.

Welcome back Willie Brumfield, who coached one football season at West Lincoln in 2002. Brumfield’s brother-in-law, Kenneth Murphy, was coaxed back into coaching the Salem football team. Murphy replaced Perry Coggin who suffered a fatal heart attack last winter.

At Lawrence County, David Parker was hired to replace Mike Davis who stepped down to become transportation director for the school system. Parker, known best for his coaching success at Morton, was defensive coordinator at Grenada last season.

Parker’s LCHS Cougars have one of the toughest schedules in the Magnolia State. It became even tougher when he agreed to play at Hazlehurst on Aug. 17, in an MHSAA Classic Game. Hazlehurst was Class 3A state runner-up last year and the Indians are loaded with talent.

At Enterprise, the coaching turnstile continued spinning in the football field house. Casey Eubanks lasted just one season as did his predecessor, Josh Garrett. Newcomer Brooks Burns comes to Enterprise from McComb, where he coached the offense for four years.

Burns grew up in the Enterprise community and graduated from Loyd Star. His father, Roe Burns, was head football coach at Loyd Star for 20 years. The elder Burns also coached a few years at Enterprise and got the Fighting Yellow Jackets in the state playoffs.

Burns has added Salem to the Enterprise schedule. The Jackets host the Wildcats Aug. 17, in a Classic game. Preseason practice begins July 30.

At South Pike, the political football heated up last week. Willie Brown stepped down after an altercation with assistant coach Michael Andrews, a hometown hero in Magnolia. The school board heard the tale and promoted Andrews to head coach.

It wasn’t too long ago when Brown was coaching the Hazlehurst Indians to the 2005 state championship. Brown departed after that glorious campaign but found little success or happiness at Greenville Weston and Port Gibson before landing in Magnolia. He took the Eagle to the third round of the Class 4A state playoffs in 2011.

At Bogue Chitto, Theo “Bo” Black has come out of retirement to coach the boys basketball team. He replaces Jimmie Butler who coached the Bobcats for one season.

At Brookhaven Academy, Ginger Duease resigned from her girls basketball coaching position after less than a year at the helm. Duease was replaced by Bruce Allsup who moved here from Columbus Heritage.

Also, Kaylin Burke Lofton has been hired to coach BA’s softball team. She replaces Ricky Allen who retired after a long run as head coach.

In football, Andrew Hickman has joined BA Coach Tripp McCarty’s staff.

Also at Lawrence County, Meleah Brown Howard has been hired to coach slowpitch and fastpitch softball. She replaces Courtney Shivers.

Stay tuned for more coaching changes.


Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com