FARMINGTON, May 4, 2020 – Jim Ross, who led the Canton High boys tennis team to their only state championship in 1998, has died at the age of 77. Ross passed away peacefully with his wife, Ann, at his side on April 25, 2020 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Ross was a special education teacher in the Canton school system for 35 years before retiring. He coached the boys tennis team for 23 years from 1978 to 2000.
In 1998, his Warriors won the Class S championship with a two-point win, 13-11, over East Catholic and Avon, who tied for second place. The doubles team of Matt Spring and Peter Taylor won the Class S title in doubles to help the Warriors. They went 5-0 in the tournament and didn’t drop a set.
Every member of the team won at least one match. Peter Spring (3-1) advanced to the quarterfinals while Jeremy Talbot picked up two wins. Bob Trout and the doubles team of Kevin Barlow and Rich Kulik each won a match.
A year later in 1999, Canton finished second in Class S, one point behind East Catholic, 17-16. The doubles team of Peter Spring and Matt Spring won the Class S title, a State Open championship and the New England championship – just the second athletes in school history at that time to win a New England title.
During that special 1999 season, Canton went undefeated (13-0), won their only NCCC title and won their only NCCC Tournament title with a dominating 23-14 win over runner-up Windsor Locks. In his final four seasons leading Canton, the Warriors finished in the top four at the Class S tournament each season. They were fourth in 1997, first in 1998, second in 1999 and third in 2000.
In 1990, Ross was named the boys tennis coach of the year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association – just the third Canton High coach in any sport to receive that award at that time.
James F. Ross graduated from New Britain High in 1960 and Central Connecticut State University in 1967. After retiring from teaching at Canton, he became a surrogate parent for the state of Connecticut and worked as an educational advocate for students in foster care.
An avid athlete, Jim was passionate about playing tennis, golf and fishing. He was the tennis pro at Chippanee Country Club in Bristol for many years and was a USPTA tennis professional. He won the 1977 Bristol Open title in men’s singles and many other awards. He was also a guest tennis pro at multiple Caribbean resorts in his career.
Ross is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ann (Cimadon) Ross and three children, Jimmy Ross, Jr. and his wife Kara of Arlington, VA, Tracey Ross and her husband Tom Hyde of Greensboro, NC, and Kevin Ross and his wife Meredith of Bristol.
A memorial and celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a future date when family and friends can gather. To honor Jim, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011. For online condolences, please visit www.newbritainsagarino.com