Bobby Ross yesterday said he will decide quickly at the end of this season about his future as Maryland's head football coach and expressed his displeasure at the constant speculation linking him to prominent coaching vacancies.
"I know I have to sit down with myself and people whom I trust and feel confident with their word and their advice, and that I will do," Ross said. "I have not been contacted by any other schools, and whatever decision I make will not be based on another job. I have a decision to make and I have to reach it very quickly after the season to be fair to the University of Maryland."
Ross, according to various published reports, is now or will be a leading candidate for jobs with Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals.
"I don't know why my name gets thrown around so much, but I don't like it," Ross said. "I know Gerry Faust (who resigned from his job at Notre Dame yesterday) has a family. I know Foge Fazio (who was fired from his job at Pittsburgh Monday) has a family. I'm a football coach, too, and I have a family.
"I'm not flattered by having my name mentioned all the time. I'm embarrassed by it. I don't know how to deal with it. I don't know where it comes from or how. But it embarrasses me."
Two years ago, the University of Minnesota considered Ross one of its final three candidates; last year, the University of Missouri talked to Ross. "I withdrew my name both times and I never made a visit to either school," Ross said. "Those are the only schools that have ever contacted me. Two years ago, it was reported that I was going to the Houston Oilers, and I have yet to talk with anyone from the Oilers."
Maryland attempted last spring to sign Ross to a 10-year contract. But Ross declined because he wasn't sure of the school's commitment in several areas, the primary ones being a general improvement of Byrd Stadium and consistent academic guidelines that would eliminate the delays that seem to have hurt Ross' recruiting efforts.
Ross has been mentioned as "a candidate" for several jobs since he arrived at Maryland and took the team from a 4-6-1 performance in 1981 under Coach Jerry Claiborne to 8-4 the next year. Since then, Ross' teams have gone 8-4 and 9-3, with two Atlantic Coast Conference championships. This season, with Friday's game against Virginia and the Cherry Bowl game against Syracuse remaining, Maryland is 7-3 and has clinched at least a share of the ACC title.
Because of Maryland's consistency as a top 20 team, because he uses a wide-open pro-style offense, and because he has NFL experience (as an assistant with the Chiefs), Ross is considered to have all the credentials for a head coaching job in the NFL or at a traditional power like Notre Dame or Pitt. That Maryland has not contended for the national title this year, as many expected before the season, does not appear to have soured athletic directors or general managers on Ross.
Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull wanted to have Ross secured long before now. After the initial attempt failed, Dull wanted to discuss a long-term contract with Ross in mid-October, during an open-date week for Maryland.
But Ross said he didn't want to talk about a contract in midseason, and Dull said he was committed to signing Ross even if Maryland (then 3-2) lost its final six games of the season.