Sports Outside the Beltway

Bobby Ross Resigns as Army Coach

Bobby Ross is resigning as head coach of Army Football.

Army coach Bobby Ross will announce his resignation at a 3 p.m. news conference Monday.

Ross’ impending resignation was first reported by The Times Herald-Record. The newspaper reported that offensive line coach Stan Brock is expected to replace Ross as head coach.

Army finished the 2006 season with six straight losses, including a 26-14 loss to Navy in the Black Knights’ season finale. In three seasons with Army, Ross was 9-25.

His highlight was a 4-7 record in 2005 — Army’s most victories in a season since 1997.

Ross has a 103-101-2 record in 18 collegiate seasons, including tenures at The Citadel, Maryland and Georgia Tech. He led the Yellow Jackets to a share of the national title in 1990.

Ross was 77-68 in the NFL, including guiding the Chargers to the Super Bowl in 1994. He walked away from his job as head coach of the Lions midway through the 2000 season.

It’s amazing that a man with a college national championship and a trip to the Super Bowl on his head coaching resume has such mediocre career records. It’s surprising, too, that he couldn’t resurrect the Black Knights. While it’s no doubt difficult to recruit blue chippers to the service academies, Navy and Air Force have been much more successful in recent years.


Maggie Dixon, Army Basketball Coach, Dies at 28

Army women’s basketball coach Maggie Dixon died suddenly last night from heart arrhythmia. She was 28.

Maggie Dixon, Army Basketball Coach, Photo Coach Maggie Dixon, who at age 28 led the Army women’s basketball team to its first NCAA Tournament berth last month, died after suffering heart arrhythmia. Dixon died Thursday night at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., U.S. Military Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Kent Cassella said. A memorial service was scheduled for Friday afternoon at West Point. Dixon was hospitalized in critical condition after suffering an “arrhythmic episode to her heart” Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy, said her older brother, Pittsburgh men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon.


Army gave Dixon her first head coaching job last October. Six months later, she led the team to its first bid in the women’s field. The rookie coach’s accomplishment gained extra attention because her brother led the Panthers to the men’s tournament at the same time. The Dixons are believed to be the first brother and sister to coach in the NCAA Tournament in the same year. Army lost 102-54 to No. 6 Tennessee in the first round.



Candace Parker First Woman to Dunk in NCAA Tourney

AP reports on some history being made Sunday in the NCAA women’s tournament.

Candace Parker is a redshirt freshman for Tennessee who can play every position and distribute the ball as easily as she scores. Oh yeah, she dunks, too.

The 6-foot-4 Parker became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA Tournament game Sunday, jamming one-handed on a breakaway just 6:12 into the second-seeded Lady Vols’ 102-54 victory against an Army team that was making its NCAA Tournament debut. Then, for good measure, Parker ensured her place in basketball lore by becoming the first to do it twice in a college game with another one-hander on the baseline. She finished with 26 points in 26 minutes, and added five rebounds, a career-high seven assists, four blocks, two steals — and the feeling of an obstacle cleared.

“It’s a relief to finally do it and get it over with and be done with it,” said Parker, who’s been peppered with questions from fans and even her teammates about when she would finally throw one down in a game.

Parker also made history two years ago as the first woman to win the McDonald’s Slam Dunk contest.

Photo: Candace Parker wins McDonald's Slam Dunk contest There are moments, stunning indelible moments, that transcend sport, crumble barriers and create icons. There’s Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome in 1973. Brandi Chastain clinching the Women’s World Cup in 1999. Annika Sorenstam teeing off at the Colonial last May.

On Monday night, in a cozy high school gymnasium southeast of Oklahoma City, a 17-year-old high school senior named Candace Parker turned in the latest moment. Parker beat out five male competitors to win the Slam Dunk contest of the McDonald’s High School All-American Game. She won with aplomb, too, darting down the left side of the lane, covering her eyes with her left arm and flushing home a right-handed dunk. At 9:06 p.m. CT, Parker sparked a raucous ovation, chest bumps from her teammates and officially launched herself as the female answer to LeBron James.

Parker, who will play for Tennessee next season, stands just a shade under 6-feet-4 and can play all five positions on the floor. The first two-time winner of the Naismith National Player of the Year award, Parker already was billed as the most ballyhooed women’s high school athlete ever. That’s before she joined James, Carmelo Anthony and Vince Carter on the list of McDonald’s Dunk Contest winners. “I’m not surprised, she really plays at the rim,” Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt said Tuesday afternoon after learning of Parker’s winning performance. “Obviously, Candace is a very special player. She’s going to be good for the women’s game. She’s the kind of individual who has a lot of charisma and personality.”

Yes, Parker’s performance suggests she could usher women’s college basketball further into the mainstream with the sport’s sexiest play — the dunk. Only five dunks have been recorded during a women’s college game, three by Tennessee’s Michelle Snow. There has been only one in the WNBA, a Lisa Leslie flush in 2002. “That would be my dream,” Parker said. “For 10 years from now for three or four girls entering the dunk contest and it’s not a big deal.”

We might get there. Whether we’ll get to the point where the woman won’t have a huge edge just because of the novelty factor is another question.


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