Ross James began his head coaching career at Mary Baldwin University in the fall of 2017 following three seasons as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Lafayette College.
In the 2018-19 season, James led the Fighting Squirrels to their best season in recent history. MBU finished 17-10 with a 10-6 mark in league play. The 17 victories are second-most in program history, while he coached to a new school record of 10 conference wins. He also led the way for the Fighting Squirrels to their first post season victory in the USA South Tournament. For his efforts in leading MBU to a 15-win turnaround, James was selected the USA South Coach of the Year as well as a D3Hoops.com South Region Coach of the Year nod. Under his tutelage, first-year sensation Leah Calhoun claimed Rookie of the Year honors from the league after averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game, which led in all categories for first year players. In addition to Calhoun's yearly award and first team all-conference laurels, Brooke Anders was also tabbed a second team all-league representative.
While at Lafayette, James worked as the primary contact for recruiting bringing in, for the first time in the school’s history, a Blue Star Honorable Mention Recruiting Class along with two McDonald All American nominees. Theresa Grentz said, “Ross James is a tireless worker who enjoys his job… the ability to recognize and evaluate talent across the country is a necessary key to any successful staff, and Ross is a trusted individual with these skills.”
While pursuing his master’s degree, Coach James served as a graduate assistant coach for the Texas Woman’s University women’s basketball program under Beth Jillson. Under Coach Jillson, Ross was responsible for recruiting, player development and scouting opponents. Beth said, “Ross will do a tremendous job at Mary Baldwin University. He is committed and passionate about helping young women succeed in the classroom, on the court, and in all areas of life.”
James holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Millsaps College (2009) and a M.S. in Kinesiology from Texas Woman’s University (2014).
Coach James is no stranger to on the court success. He was a member of the Millsaps College run to the Elite 8 during the 2007-2008 season. Head Coach Tim Wise said, “Ross James used his understanding of basketball and size as a big guard to develop into a college player… he (Ross) also had that uncanny ability of coming up with offensive rebounds for us; certainly a team-first, selfless member of our team.”
“I'd be remiss not to thank my coaches and mentors that have invested their time and shared their experience and wisdom with me,” stated Ross. "Their words and actions have provided me with a good understanding of the role of a head coach. My sincerest thanks to Tim Tencleve, Finley Ledbetter, Craig James, Tim Wise, Beth Jillson, Micheal Madrid, Dianne Nolan, Justin Le Blanc, Mike Hatch, Kayla Weaver, Taylor High, Karen Blair, Brian Donoghue, Aaron Khalloff, C.K. Calhoun, Dr. Mike Clark, Kristen Foley, Theresa Grentz, Yolanda Griffith, Matt McLeod, Serge Brennan, Harrison Eaddy and the late Richard Scofield.”
James added, “I am grateful. My success is their success and to see those whom have been entrusted into my care also succeed.”