. . . all subjects that tested Middle Schoolers at this year's National Geographic Bee.
Former Big Blue student-athlete and current Form V/VI Dean of Student Life Mr. Jake Ross '96 will take the helm of the Boys' Varsity Baseball Team next spring. His transition to the role is a fitting one. He and Ted Corvino '94, who has served as Head Coach of the team since 2007, played together for Big Blue almost 25 years ago. In fact, the 1994 Boys' Varsity Baseball Team (14-6), which, with the help of Mr. Ross and Mr. Corvino, brought home the school's first NJSIAA Non-Public tournament title, was inducted into Pingry's Athletics Hall of Fame three years ago. In 2011, Mr. Ross, himself, was inducted for demonstrating "his versatility on three varsity teams: soccer (three letters), ice hockey (four letters), and baseball (four letters)."
That one Pingry alumnus-teacher has been leading the team for a decade and another is set to take over is special, says Manny Tramontana ("Trem") P '85, '87, Pingry math teacher and Head Coach from 1976 to 2007. Complimenting his former athlete-turned-Head Coach, he added, "He's a good pick. He knows his stuff."
Fittingly, the first person Mr. Ross told of his new coaching role was Mr. Tramontana. When evaluating colleges, he recalls Trem telling him he was likely to find more success in soccer, but was a more naturally gifted baseball player. Indeed, he grew up in a baseball family. His great uncle, Ray Fisher, played in the majors and was Head Coach at the University of Michigan (the school's baseball stadium is named after him). His father, too, played and coached at the University for two years. Mr. Ross began playing competitively in the third or fourth grade, and remembers soft tossing with his dad from the time he could walk (at Pingry, his dad helped out as pitching coach). His younger brother, Nick '97, was also a three-sport athlete for Big Blue and a 2011 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
After graduating from Pingry in 1996, Mr. Ross played two years of baseball (as pitcher) and four years of soccer (as a forward) for Lafayette College, where he earned a B.A. in History. (He also earned a master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Seton Hall University.) He helped the soccer team to two conference championships and was twice named to the All-Patriot League and All-Region teams.
From 2001-2004, he served, at various times, as an assistant coach for Big Blue's soccer, ice hockey, and baseball teams. After teaching history at Delbarton for 10 years, from 2003-2013, and coaching their soccer, ice hockey, and baseball teams, he returned to the Pingry community for good in the fall of 2013 as a Middle School history teacher. Currently, in addition to his role as Dean, he teaches Grade 9 history and Peer Leadership. In the realm of coaching, over the last several years he has served as an assistant coach for the Boys' Varsity Soccer Team and the Boys' Varsity Ice Hockey teams. This will be his first role as Head Coach.
"I've had the honor of serving under six Hall of Fame coaches, three at Delbarton and three at Pingry—Mags, Miller, and Trem," he says, referring to his old coach as well as John Magadini (ice hockey) and Miller Bugliari '52 (soccer). "I must have picked up some good things from them," he adds, chuckling.
Mr. Ross, already a very familiar face on campus, is eager to get to know his athletes even better. When asked about his goals for the team, he replies easily: "One of the things I've learned from these other coaches is the importance of building a program in which the guys on the team represent themselves, their school, and their families in a way that makes everyone proud. That's not always an easy thing to do."
With the team's previous head coach, Mr. Corvino, still on campus, and Mr. Tramontana continuing to offer support from the sidelines, to say nothing of his own history and experience in the sport, Coach Ross is certain to slide into the role with ease.
Sure to be watching a few of the games are his three sons—twin three-year-olds and a six-year-old. What was the reaction of Mr. Ross's father to the news that his son was named Head Coach of Big Blue baseball? "Tell them to get three bat boy uniforms ready!"
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, adawson@pingry.