OTTUMWA, IA – These past two weeks have felt like two years for James Ross as he awaited word from Indian Hills Community College administration on whether or not he would be tabbed as the next Men’s Soccer coach for the Warriors. But in all actuality, Ross had effectively been waiting for this position with Indian Hills for two years after he previously reached out about the Warriors job opening in 2018. After receiving word from IHCC Athletic Director, Dr. Brett Monaghan, that he was being offered the head coaching position, Ross described his feelings as both excited and relieved.
“I was totally invested and hoping that I got the job,” Ross explained. “They say ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst,’ and I prepared myself for if I didn’t get the job, I’m still in a great position where I was originally located.”
Ross comes to Ottumwa after taking over this past Winter as Head Women’s Soccer coach at Highland Community College in Kansas, where the Scotties were introducing a new program into their Athletics Department. Prior to his short stint at Highland, Ross was the Head Coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 2019, and spent five years at the helm of Cloud Community College’s men’s and women’s teams, 2014-2018.
While he’s done quite a bit of moving these past two seasons, Ross was quick to mention he is here to stay at Indian Hills.
“I’m there to stay,” Ross said emphatically. “I have everything I need and want, in my opinion, to accomplish the ultimate goal: win a national title.”
Ross told Ottumwa Radio Group in a phone interview Monday that, from his perspective, Indian Hills is a “top 10 or 11” junior college in the country from a competitive, facilities, and academic perspective. It was one of just a couple of jobs he would have left his position at Highland to take.
While his first day on campus will be coming up Wednesday, Ross says he’s already begun watching film from Warrior games last season and he has also reached out to all of the players in the program. With practices still months away from beginning, Ross says he’s already itching to get onto the pitch and begin working with the players.
“We have plenty of work to do, even with a sophomore class, pretty big returning,” Ross stated. “We’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to be at the national tournament. And that’s the goal every year.”
Ross will also rely heavily upon current Indian Hills Assistant, Haris Miftari, who Ross praises for the work he has done not only on the field, but also during the COVID-19 pandemic remaining in contact with current players and prospective recruits. He will also call upon an old friend of his from time-to-time for advice, or to bounce ideas off of one another, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach, Vlatko Andonovski, whom Ross has known for over 20 years.
Ultimately, the message Ross wants to convey to the players, school administration, staff, and fans of the program is that everyone will be proud of the team that takes the field donning the maroon and gold.
“They will see disciplined, hard working, student-athletes, with a phenomenal coaching staff, and a really, really exciting way to watch the game be played.”