Former Clemson C Bill Ross dies

Former Clemson basketball player Bill Ross died Monday in an

automobile accident in the state of Florida.  A four-year letterman

under Head Coach Bill Foster from 1978-82, Ross was 52 at the time of

his death.

Ross was the only person who died in the five-car

accident that took place around 8 a.m. in Sebring, FL.  Ross was stopped

at a red light when he was hit from behind by another car. He was

wearing a seat belt and was on his way to work at Progress Energy, the

company he had worked for the last 20 years.

Ross, a 1982 Clemson

graduate, was a part of the first senior class in school history to

play in four postseason tournaments, including the 1979-80 team that

reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the only time a Clemson

team has been one game away from the Final Four.  Ross played in 106

games in his career, 29 as a starter.  He scored 513 points, had 303

rebounds and shot 49 percent from the field, including 53 percent as a

senior in the 1981-82 season.

A native of Lake Placid High

School, Ross averaged 5.4 points per game as a freshman in 1978-79.  He

was named the ACC Rookie of the Week for his play in the 1978 Sun Bowl

Carnival, a tournament Clemson won with triumphs over UTEP and Texas

Tech.

Ross played in 25 games and averaged 2.3 points a game

during the 1979-80 season.  As a junior, the 6-10 center saw his most

playing time, as he appeared in 31 games, 20 as a starter.  He started

20 of the last 22 games that year and averaged 5.8 points per game.

Ross

had the most significant game of his career in a landmark Clemson

victory on December 29, 1980 against Indiana. Playing in the Rainbow

Classic in front of a sellout crowd in Honolulu, Hawaii,  Ross made his

first start of the season and led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points

on 6-10 shooting in the Tigers 58-57 victory over the number-15 ranked

Hoosiers.  

Bobby Knight’s team led by Isiah Thomas went on to

win the national championship that year and it is still the only time a

Clemson basketball team has beaten the eventual national champion.  

Ross went up against Indiana frontcourt stars Landon Turner and Ray

Tolbert that night and keyed the victory.  His 19-foot jumper with 49

seconds left cut the Hoosiers lead to one.  Forty seconds later Chris

Dodds hit what proved to be the game winner.

Ross averaged 5.6

points a game as a senior in 1981-82.  He played an even 400 minutes as a

top reserve in 27 games.  He saved his best performance for his Senior

Day game, as he scored a career high 19 points on 8-9 shooting  in a win

over Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Ross is survived by his wife, Joanie, and son, Dylan.