Warriors' new head football coach Ricky Ross says he can restore the pride back in Marion County football. "Absolutely, I wouldn't do it if I didn't think I could," says Ross about his newest assignment.
It's a tall order, and we're not talking about his first day on the job moving into his new field house.
One that still bears the scars of his predecessor, ensnared in a vandalism scandal that rocked the community, shook up the school and eventually negatively impacted the team.
"I'll tell you what I told the kids," says Ross from the scene of the crime. "They have every reason in the world not to trust me or any adult for that matter and through time, hopefully , our character and the way we live our daily life and the things we develop, relationships, I think that's what its most about," says the new 38 year old head coach.
Ross comes to Jasper by way of Monroe County, Georgia's Mary Persons High School, but he made his coaching bones as Hal Lamb's Defensive Coordinator at perennial Georgia powerhouse Calhoun High. " I was fortunate enough to work with what I believe one of the best coaches of all time in the state of Georgia, I spent a long time behind him , learning how he did things, watching how he did things and taking great notes."
Ross says he's ready for his first head coaching opportunity, he says everything is right in warrior country, his wife Sandy is a 1990 graduate of Marion County High.
"We fell in love with the area, so to be close to the area, close to Chattanooga, close to grandparents, we felt like here was a good situation, the administration was supportive"
And it may be a supportive school administration that made a difference for Ross, who initially accepted the South Pittsburg head coaching job, only to resign weeks later.
It's sure to become another log on the fire of the simmering rivalry between the Warriors and Pirates. "Obviously, that game, everyone is going to build it to everything it can be , but like I told my kids when I met them last Friday I said "guys , everyday I worry about everyday, was today a great day?"
Marion's spring drills and conditioning program begin Monday. Practices are limited due to the penalties handed down after last year's vandalism controversy and subsequent coach firings.