Posted: 11:09 am Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
By Jeff Greer
He’s been around Palm Beach County basketball for a long time, but Dwyer basketball coach Fred Ross says any rumors about his possible retirement are false.
Ross said Monday night that he had no intention of retiring after this season, dispelling recent chatter that he might. The Dwyer coach, who has led Dwyer to two state championships and has won 539 games as a head coach, laughed when the very word “retire” came up in conversation.
“I’m not thinking about retiring,” Ross said. “I’m having fun. We’ve got really good kids in this program. And as long as I’m having fun, I’m gonna keep coaching.”
Dwyer (30-1) is back in the state semifinals for the third consecutive year. The Panthers have won their three playoff games by an average of 29 points. Ross’s team has played with a tenacity unmatched by any opponent in Palm Beach County. The Panthers use constant fullcourt pressure and score a ton in transition. They have a deep bench, too, something that has made Ross’s 28th season as a head coach a lot easier.
Two of Dwyer’s top reserves have all kinds of starting experience. Montel Williams, a senior, was a starter before guard Jacoby Brissett fully came back to basketball after an extended football season. And big fella Derrick Davis has been a huge weapon on the bench, spelling junior center Joel James and senior forward Greg Louis. Davis was Ross’s starting center last season.
“We’ve got some guys who have played a lot of minutes,” Ross said. “That really helps.”
Ross, 58, is known as a tough coach who runs intense practices and yells his fair share from the sidelines. His you’re-in-trouble stare might be the best among area coaches. But his players know exactly why he’s tough, and they appreciate it.
“I want him to yell at me and let me know I can do better,” Louis said. “It motivates me.”
He has certainly been through a lot in his basketball life, playing through all kinds of adversity as a DeLand High hoops star in the late 1960s. He has regularly been accused of improperly recruiting players to his program as a coach. He dismisses that criticism as quickly as he shot down rumors saying his retirement would come after the state tournament in Lakeland in the coming days.
Last year, he admitted retirement was nearing. But Monday night, he said not yet.
“Put it in print for everyone to see,” Ross said, laughing. “I like doing this too much.”