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August 18, 2004

Army Football Looks To Regain Competitiveness

FROM THE BANKS OF THE MIGHTY HUDSON comes word of an energized resuscitation of the once-mighty Army football program.

Most notably, the Black Knights have made a great hire for their new coach: Bobby Ross, whose resume includes a 23-year run at Georgia Tech (highlighted by a share of the national title with Colorado in 1990), plus a Super Bowl (1994) with the San Diego Chargers.

Some of the under 50 set might be unaware of Army’s former gridiron glory. Between 1944 and 1946 the team went 27-0-1.

However, the program has fallen on some extremely rough times over the past couple years. Last year, Army became the first Division I-A team to go 0-13. They have lost 24 of their last 25 games. Departed coach Todd Berry’s lifetime record was 5-35.

Ross brings terrific credentials with him, such as:

• The maturity of a 67-year old and the energy / passion of a much younger man.

• Experience in turning a college program around. GA Tech was 2-9-1 in ’87 and 11-0-1 (and national champion) in’90.

• A winning history in college (94-76-2) and NFL (77-68).

• An understanding of military life. He was a first lieutenant in the Army from 1960-62 and he graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1959. One of his sons (Chris) is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and another (Kevin) is a graduate of the Naval Academy.

Immediate expectations appear to be realistic; no sane person involved with the program seems to be looking for a winning season this year.

Army was rated 115th out of the 117 Division I-A teams in a recent Sports Illustrated ranking. Perhaps just a couple (three?) victories this year should be the expectation?

(this 285 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was extracted from a 1921 word article in USA TODAY of 8-18-04)