The 2008 season will mark Joe Ross' 17th as the Huskies' top assistant coach. In 1997, Ross was promoted to associate head coach.
Ross has made a reputation not only as one of college baseball top hitting coaches, but also as one of its top scouts and evaluators of talent.
The most recent validation of his talents as an evaluator and recruiting coordinator came recently as last season's group of newcomers was ranked as the nation's No. 11 recruiting class by Collegiate Baseball.
Ross came to Washington prior to the 1993 season after a long and successful stint as head baseball coach at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. He's worked alongside Ken Knutson through each of Knutson's 16 seasons as head coach.
In his 16 seasons as Washington's primary hitting instructor, Husky players have rewritten the school record book several times over.
The '97 Huskies set new team records for batting, hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases and slugging. The team batting average of .340 was 17th in the nation and the third highest in Pac-10 history.
Washington also posted Pac-10 all-time top-five seasons in runs, doubles and RBI while also ranking in the top 20 in the nation in scoring and slugging, making the 1997 Huskies one of the most prolific offensive teams in the history of the Pac-10.
That success has continued as more than 85 percent of the Huskies' top-five offensive team performances over 12 different categories have taken place since Ross' arrival at the UW.
In 2007, the Dawgs posted yet another .300-batting season, hitting .304 as a club. The Huskies had three regulars hit .348 or better. One of his hitting protegés, Kyle Conley, belted 19 homers in 2008.
Ross' teams are routinely among the nation's leaders in home runs as well. In fact, the Huskies ranked in the nation's top 12 in home runs per game each year from 2003 to 2006, including finishing second in 2003. Generally, the nation's top home run-hitting programs are those that play at high altitude, while Husky Ballpark is located at sea level.
In 2003, the Huskies had an outstanding offensive season. Chad Boudon broke the school's home runs record with 22 on the year, tops in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation. Additionally, the Huskies, as a team, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in home runs with 96.
In 2004, the Huskies ranked sixth in the nation in home runs and 30th in slugging. Seven regular starters hit .300 or better and three Huskies hit double-digit home runs, increasing an already lenghty list under Ross' tutelage. Prior to his hiring, only two Husky hitters had ever reached double digits in homers. Since his first year, 27 UW hitters have hit 10 or more home runs in a season.
In 2005, the Huskies were 12th in the nation in homers and then followed that by ranking 6th in 2006. Additionally in 2006, Matt Hague emerged as the top hitter in UW history, in terms of career batting average, under Ross' instruction.
In 1999, he had two different players break UW home runs records. Dominic Woody posted 19 for the season to break the 13-year old school mark while Ed Erickson moved into first place on the career home runs ledger with his 31st. In 2000, Erickson finished his career with 12 more homers than the next nearest Huskies.
In 1998, he coached two players - Nick Stefonick and Chris Magruder - to .400 seasons, the first time in modern Husky history that two players have topped that high plateau. Magruder, Kevin Miller and Ryan Lentz, all recruited and coached by Ross, finished their three-year Husky careers in 1998 as three of the best hitters in school history, as Magruder finished with the career hits, runs and steals record, Miller with the RBI record and Lentz with the single-season homer mark.
In 1994, he led the team to a .307 team batting average (fourth highest in team history at the time) and an average of nearly seven runs per game. Seven of UW's starters batted better than .300.
In 1993, he helped Derrin Doty to become only the second Husky in modern history to hit over .400 while leading the team to a .304 average. Another of his pupils in 1993, first baseman Randy Jorgensen, broke the school record with 61 runs batted in during the 1993 season.
Ross also oversees the Huskies' recruiting efforts, oversees the coaching of the catchers, and makes the offensive calls during games. His 1995 recruiting class was ranked No. 28 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball magazine, the first time a UW class had been ranked in the top 30. The 1996 class was even more highly acclaimed, earning the No. 8 ranking in that poll and his class for the '98 season was tabbed the No. 15 class in the country. The 2000 class ranked No. 18 and more recently, the 2001 season's crop of newcomers earned the No. 29 spot.
In six seasons as Normandale's head coach, Ross compiled a 180-38 record and took his team to two NJCAA World Series, in 1988 and 1990. He also led the team to league championships in each of his six seasons at the helm and won three Minnesota state championships, four regional championships and two NJCAA District championships.
From 1990 to 1992, Ross also worked as a baseball coach for the United States Baseball Federation. In 1992, he coached the U.S. Junior National team (16-18 year olds) to a silver medal at the World Games in Mexico. Among the members of that team was current superstar Alex Rodriguez. Ross was also an assistant on the 1991 Junior National team and an assistant for an Olympic Festival team in 1990.
From 1980-86, he was head coach at Wisconsin-River Falls, which he lead from obscurity to state and NAIA District 14 championships in 1984 and 1985.
From 1980 to 1983, Ross served as head coach for two different teams in the Netherlands' Hoofdklasse Baseball League, a league in which he spent three summers as a top-notch professional player.
He was named NJCAA North Central coach of the year twice, NJCAA Region 13 coach of the year four times, MCCC (Minnesota Community College Conference) coach of the year three times and NAIA District 14 coach of the year twice. Ross has also served as a scout in the Mets and Yankees organizations.
Ross holds a bachelor's degree (physical eduation/coaching, 1982) and master's degree (supervision and instructional leadership, 1986), both from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He and his wife, Laurence, a native of the Netherlands, live with sons Alex and Luke in Kirkland.