Archived Story

Ross rockets to 500th win

Published 10:41am Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making it to the 500 mark in anything is difficult, but that’s what coach Diane Ross has accomplished in volleyball wins.

In her 25-year career, Ross coached at BOLD High School in Olivia, Minn., before heading to Underwood, where she has coached since 1996. When Underwood won the match against Battle Lake on last Thursday, the team helped secure the 500th win for Ross.

“They were undefeated in that conference, so the thrill of that victory was pretty exciting,” she said.

A lot of the credit goes to working with good assistant coaches, Ross said. Over her 25 years, she’s worked with three — currently Breck Grove, who is in her sixth year as assistant coach. Working with her assistants for so many years allows them to work together on the same page, she said, and in turn the athletes trust the coaches and dedicate themselves to the game.

But she does have expectations for the girls.

“I expect the girls to want to be at practice and want to work hard, so that expectation is there,” Ross said. “It’s not always easy to juggle everything they do, and I have had the opportunity to work with real top-notch kids.”

During pre-season training, Ross works with the girls on ball control — basic positioning and how to put the ball where they want it to go — along with tacking and blocking skills and physical conditioning like footwork. “We isolate everything,” she said, “break it down so we can perform.”

With high school sports, Ross said one challenge is coaching new kids every year after seniors graduate.

“You have to understand the new kids coming in, what motivates the girls and try and adjust so that you can get the most out of them,” she said. “Pushing them to do well, but not overdoing it.”

At Underwood, she also teaches fifth and sixth grade science, but coaching is her passion. She coached gymnastics while in college, and knew coaching was something she wanted to continue. She said she loves working with kids because they’re full of energy and eager to learn — and making her 500th career win has helped Ross appreciate her time as a coach even more.

“It’s a good time to look back and recall all the great people I’ve worked with over the years.”

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