UAH's Ross Charges Forward
Coaching 700 career games at any level
of hockey – or in any sport, for that matter
– boggles the mind.
Consider the number of seemingly endless
bus rides. Traffic jams. Airport delays. Every type
of weather imaginable. Visitor’s locker rooms
with no hot water and one towel for 25 guys. Referees
adored and abhorred. Memorable wins and forgettable
Alabama-Huntsville coach Doug Ross –
who seemingly started career during Prohibition –
reached that milestone in Rochester, N.Y., Saturday
and recorded a victory to boot, as the Chargers defeated
RIT. Not that he knew anything about it.
“I don’t keep track of it,”
Ross said in typical coachspeak. “I’m
a coach. I just coach.”
He wasn’t kidding. He had no idea
it was his 700th game. Not only was he unimpressed,
but he didn’t care if it was true.
“It’s gone by slow,”
laughed Ross, who skated for the U.S. team at the
1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck and started his
coaching career at Ohio University the following fall.
“It’s a lot of work. Every Friday and
Saturday night…it is a big part of your life.”
Of the 700 games he’s coached,
Ross has been behind the Alabama-Huntsville bench
for 480 of them over the course of the last 24 years.
His Charger teams won NCAA Division II national titles
in 1996 and 1998 and took CHA regular-season honors
in 2001 and 2003, though the league’s playoff
championship – and the NCAA Tournament automatic
berth that accompanies it – has thus far been
“I’ve been fortunate that
I’ve been surrounded by a lot of good people,”
he said. “If you are surrounded by a lot of
good people who are very helpful, it makes your job
a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable [and] if you
get the students in here that have the educational
goals, everything falls into place. The people are
When milestones of this magnitude are
involved, the obvious question is, how long does he
plan to keep coaching?
It’s a year-to-year thing. I would
like to go for a couple of more years,” said
Ross, who turned 54 last month. “I thought after
[son and former Charger standout] Jared graduated,
I might want to get out a couple years after that.
I’m still kind of sticking to that plan a little
bit so I can spend more time watching him play, if
he is still playing. I miss him a lot.”
AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Great Weekend Getaway
It's the best league series of the weekend
and one that should serve as a measuring stick
for both teams. "We just seem to be getting
better as the weeks go by," said UAH forward
Todd Bentley. "It will be a good starting
Whether the move was intentional
or just the result of a scheduling quirk, how
cool is it that Air Force travels to
Army for a non-conference series that kicks
off on Veteran's Day? Regardless of
the sport, contests pitting the service academies
against one another are always taut, heated
Kennesaw State's aborted stab at starting a Division I
hockey program leaves the CHA in a
bad way for the 2006-07 season and beyond. Unless
a replacement for Atlantic Hockey-bound Air
Force is found prior to the start of next year,
the CHA will drop to five members and lose its
automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It would
be a shame, especially considering how well
the CHA representatives have played in the national
Solid Debut for Pagliero
– Niagara made a goaltending
switch Saturday as freshman Juliano Pagliero getting
the start against Wayne State after senior Jeff VanNynatten
started the Purple Eagles’ first seven games.
VanNynatten has been steady this season, going 4-3-0
with 3.16 goals against average and a .913 save percentage,
but his replacement didn’t disappoint –
Pagliero made 39 saves in a 3-3 overtime tie.
“I thought this would be a good
opportunity to get someone else a chance to play,”
Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said of the decision
to start Pagliero. “Other than the power play
chances, I thought he was pretty solid.
“Obviously, there were a little
bit of jitters there playing in my first game as a
freshman,” Pagliero said. “I was…a
little nervous. I think the game went fairly well.
I’m just happy to get my legs underneath me.
It’s always nice knowing you have done it before.”
In giving the starting nod to Pagliero,
Burkholder bypassed junior Allen Barton (2-4-0, 4.18
GAA, .872 save pct. last season) and sophomore Scott
Mollison (3-4-0, 3.23 GAA, .874 save pct. in 2004-05).
“Some of the toughest moments
of the week happen Thursday night when we…decide
who plays and who doesn’t. I kind of went with
a gut instinct on Saturday,” Burkholder said.
“I think the silver lining is that we will graduate
a goalie and we have our three goalies for next year
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF
David Nimmo scored a rare natural hat trick in the
Chargers’ win against RIT Saturday. His first goal
of the game near the end of the first period gave
the Chargers a 2-0 lead and was the eventual
game-winning goal. The second came in the second period
as Alabama-Huntsville capitalized on a two-man advantage,
while his final tally came in the third period when
the teams were playing four-on-four.
• Think coaches spend their weekends
off in front of the TV, laying back in the recliner
with a cold beverage in one hand and the remote control
in the other? Guess again. Robert Morris coach Derek
Schooley spent his off week on the road recruiting.
“I was all over. It was a productive
off-week, let me tell you,” Schooley said in an exhausted
tone from an airport via cell phone.
• More on RMU: The Colonials’
Brett Conley has nine points – all assists – in six
games this season, and all nine have come on the power
play. It’s an interesting statistic, but also a cause
for concern. The Colonials only have scored three
even strength goals in six games.
“That is concerning,” Schooley remarked.
“Our power play is not going to click at 30 percent
all year, so we need to start figuring how to score
some five-on-five goals.”
• Wayne State, which had been
abysmal on the power play this season, entered last
weekend’s series at Niagara with only two power play
goals in 33 attempts. But in a critical juncture in
Saturday’s tie with the Purple Eagles, the Warriors
capitalized on a five-minute power play when Nate
Higgins tied the game at one, and John May gave the
Warriors a 2-1 lead just 32 seconds later. In the
series, the Warriors scored power play goals while
only surrendering one.
“It was good to see the power play get
going,” Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson said. “Special
teams have been a thorn in our side. I thought that
was a pretty positive sign for us.”
• Niagara forward Randy Harris,
who had registered at least one point in each of his
team’s seven games this season, had his streak snapped
in Saturday’s game against Wayne State
• Alabama-Huntsville’s Dominik
Rozman had three points in the Chargers’ win at RIT
last Friday. In his previous 58 career games, he had
scored a total of 12 points.
A variety of sources were utilized
in the compilation of this report.