The goal of most coaches is to leave a program in better shape than when they arrived and that’s certainly the case for Ryan Ross and Munford High basketball.

When Ross arrived five seasons ago the program was struggling. Four seasons later, in 2019, the Cougars won a district title.

Now the program will have to try and continue that success under new leadership.

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Ross announced today that he is leaving Munford to take the head coaching job at South-Doyle, a high school in Knoxville.

“Incredibly tough,” Ross said when asked about his decision to leave. “I know everybody always says it’s the toughest decision they’ve ever made, but this really was. What makes it so tough is the administration I worked was great because they tried to meet every need we had, and the players. Leaving the players is the hardest part.”

Ross was as assistant coach at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. for five seasons before taking the Munford job. He also attended college in East Tennessee and has a lot of friends in the area.

“It’s kind of a place we consider home,” said Ross, adding that he will be closer to family members.

Ross and his wife recently had a daughter.

“Having a baby and being able to have our families closer was a big part of the decision,” he said.

When Munford beat nemesis Dyer County to claim the program’s first district title in five years, it was the culmination of Ross’s work at Munford.

“Winning that district championship against Dyer County was such a big moment for us and as a program,” Ross said. “It felt like the moment where we’d really built it and arrived.”

That team also won a region game, which was a big step.

“I’ll win more games in the future and I’ll lose more games in the future, but there’s only one Levi Poindexter, there’s only one Jayson Williams, James Farrow and the Cunningham twins,” Ross said. “The guys are what I’m really going to miss.”