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, 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,” 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,” he added. “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.”
Powers said Ross has been the perfect person to lead the OHSAA.
“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,” Powers said. “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,’” he added.
Under 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, Ross began the groundwork for the Competitive Balance initiative in light of a potential split between public and private schools. The plan was passed by a referendum vote of OHSAA member schools in 2014 and was successfully implemented in 2016.
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.
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 recently has been serving on the NFHS Hall of Fame Screening Committee and the Basketball Rules Committee along with the NFHS Foundation Board of Directors. He also is 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, Ross was an adjunct professor at Ohio University, Bowling Green State University and Baldwin-Wallace College.
A native of Portsmouth, Ross 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 also was a registered OHSAA contest official for 20 years in the sports of baseball, basketball and volleyball.
Ross and his wife, Kris, have four grown children and their spouses and nine grandchildren.