Aug. 24, 2006
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - On Friday (Aug. 24), Bowling Green State University head softball coach Leigh Ross was named the head coach at Syracuse University. Ross will bring Kyle Jamieson to Syracuse as associate head coach. The following is the release from Syracuse University ...
Syracuse Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross named Leigh Ross as the second head coach in the history of the Orange softball program. Ross, the winningest coach in the history of the Bowling Green State University program, will bring Kyle Jamieson, Bowling Green's assistant coach for the past three years, to Syracuse as her associate head coach.
"I am so excited that we were able to secure one of the top collegiate softball coaching tandems in the country for our program," Gross said. "This is an amazing appointment to bring Leigh (Ross) as our head coach and Kyle (Jamieson) as our associate head coach. Leigh has unbelievable credentials as both a head coach and a player, and Kyle is considered the best pitching coach in the country. This will help Syracuse softball compete for a national championship. The magnitude of their coming to Syracuse can't be put into words. It is a great day for the Syracuse community. We look forward to outstanding success with Leigh and Kyle."
Ross just completed her eighth season as head coach of the Falcons where she turned BGSU into a perennial Mid-American Conference title contender. Her 2004 team posted the first MAC Tournament title in school history and advanced to NCAA Regional play, and both the 2005 and 2006 squads won a pair of games en route to a top-four finish at the league tourney.
"The Syracuse athletics department is what really sold me," Ross said. "There is so much commitment to student-athletes, to the University and to the community. I really want to be part of that. I never thought I would find a better place than Bowling Green, but I did in Syracuse. I was not looking to leave Bowling Green, but after talking with the people at Syracuse, I was so impressed with the vision. Syracuse provides an opportunity to play at a University that has national recognition, a great conference in the BIG EAST, and it still feels like a family. It is a comfortable, secure environment."
Ross, who recorded an eight-year record of 237-198-2 (.545) at Bowling Green, was the first coach in Falcon softball history to reach 200 career victories.
In the three years Ross and Jamieson have led the Bowling Green program, the Falcons have earned an NCAA Tournament bid, won the MAC title and had several individuals honored by the league.
"Kyle is a difference maker," Ross said. "Pitching is the name of the game. Hands down, Kyle is recognized as one of the best pitching coaches in the country. He has pitched at the top level in the world and won a world championship with the Canadian National team. The key to a quality staff is to have the same vision, to have the same respect for each other and to work together. We both want the same thing for our players - success on and off the field. We have a good balance to offer. Without a doubt, Kyle will be key to our success."
In 2006, BGSU tied the school record for wins, going 37-23 overall and 16-6 in the MAC. The squad set a BGSU school record with 29 home runs, and advanced to the MAC Tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons. Five individuals were All-MAC selections, including three first-team picks. In 2005, Ross mentored both the MAC Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. In 2004, Ross guided the sixth-seeded Falcons to the MAC title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Ross' coaching peers in the league named her the 2001 MAC Coach of the Year after she guided the Falcons to a 19-5 record and the East Division title. In her first year as head coach, 1999, Ross guided the Falcons to the MAC Tournament and led the team to its best record in six years. BGSU, after contending for the MAC's East Division title until the final weekend of the regular season, finished second in the division.
Ross, a native of Ottawa Lake, Mich., came to the Falcon program after serving as the head coach at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo for four seasons (1993-96). During her tenure, she was named the top coach in the City League three times. Ross' teams compiled an overall record of 70-15 and won three league titles. She also served as the assistant athletic director and development coordinator at Notre Dame Academy.
Ross was very familiar with the MAC upon her arrival at BGSU in the fall of 1996. A four-year starter in the outfield at the University of Toledo, Ross helped the 1989 UT squad to the MAC title and a seventh-place finish at the College World Series. In 1991, Ross led the nation with an average of 0.83 stolen bases per game en route to All-America Second Team honors. Additionally, her .447 batting average that season ranked her fifth nationally and still stands as the MAC record. Ross also holds the MAC career marks for batting average (.398), at-bats (744) and hits (296). She is tied for second in runs scored (143) and ranks third on the MAC stolen-base list (107).
A three-time All-Mideast Region selection, she set 11 school records during her UT career and twice was a first-team All-MAC selection. In February of 2001, Ross was inducted into the UT Athletics Hall of Fame.
Ross participated in the 1994 USA Softball Olympic Team Trials. She finished in the top 150 among more than 500 participants in the Level I tryouts. At the Level II trials, Ross was named an alternate to the 35-player national team. A 1987 graduate of Whiteford High School, where she was the valedictorian, Ross led her high school squad to three Michigan state championships and was named all-state three times. Ross has a son, Jared, and a daughter, Teagan.
Jamieson just completed his third season as a member of Ross's staff at Bowling Green, where he worked with all facets of the program, and was responsible for the Falcon pitching staff. A native of Stittsville, Ontario, Jamieson coached at the University of Toledo and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette prior to his time at Bowling Green.
In his first two years at Bowling Green, Jamieson's pitchers earned a MAC Tournament MVP award and a MAC Pitcher-of-the-Year honor. In 2006, BGSU's pitching staff led the league in earned-run average and had three pitchers place among the top seven in that category. The Falcons also led the conference with a total of 16 shutouts on the season. The 2006 Falcons had a team ERA of just 1.68, pacing the league for the second-consecutive year. In 2005, BGSU led the league in ERA (1.97 overall and 1.44 in the MAC). In Jamieson's first season with the Falcons, BGSU had a MAC-leading ERA of 1.60.
Jamieson's playing and coaching background has taken him all around the world. He was the pitching coach for the Danish Men's National Team during 2001. His playing credentials includes pitching for 1993 World Champion Canadian National Team and for the 2001 Danish National Fastpitch Championship club team. In 2003, Jamieson was a member of the Kemptville Thunder team that won a silver medal at the ISCII World Championships.
Jamieson earned his bachelor's degrees from Brock University in 1997 and Nipissing University in 1998. He was named the 1993 Male Gold Card Athlete of the Year by Softball Ontario, and also was named one of Ontario's Elite Athletes by that organization. The next year, he was inducted into the Goulbourn Township Sports Wall of Fame.
Leigh Ross has been named the head coach at Syracuse University (photo by Jeff Harwell)