This past spring, Lana Ross was literally blown away by Kansas City Kansas Community College's new softball facilities. Now, she's the new Lady Blue Devils' head coach.
"I love the field, the facilities are incredible," says Ross, who coached Fort Scott to a split with KCKCC in a Jayhawk Conference doubleheader in late March. "This is a great opportunity and a great spot; one in which I feel very comfortable."
A 14-year head coaching veteran, Ross brings a wealth of experience and success to the KCKCC program. In a 13-year career at Iowa Western in Council Bluffs, Ross' teams compiled a record of 544-238, the most wins in IWCC history. A five-time Region XI Coach of the Year, she was recognized in 2013 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the Coaching Staff of the Year. In eight seasons, her teams won 40 or more games and twice won 50 or more. Winner of five regional titles and three district championships, her teams reached the NJCAA national tournament three times.
"Lana Ross is the right person to lead our softball program," said KCKCC Athletic Director Tony Tompkins. "She is a strong leader, tough competitor and has committed to the success of the student-athlete in the classroom and on the field."
In each of her 13 years at Iowa Western, Ross' teams were recognized as Academic Team of the Year by the NFCA. During her tenure at IWCC, Ross coached 11 NJCAA All-Americans, 17 NFCA All-Americans, 25 NJCAA Academic All-Americans and 96 NFCA Academic All-Americans. In addition, 62 players earned All-Region first team honors and 43 were named to the All-Region second team.
In 2015, Ross was selected to coach the NJCAA All-Star team in the prestigious Canada Cup competition in Surrey, British Columbia. After leaving college coaching for two years to give private lessons, Ross returned to the coaching ranks in 2017-18 at Fort Scott where she coached the Greyhounds to a 28-22 record.
Ross officially begins her KCKCC coaching duties July 9 but has already started recruiting for the upcoming season. "I was hired late at Fort Scott so I'm not overly concerned," says Ross. "We'll still be okay. My emphasis is always about fundamentals; something I've done with all my programs. Day in and day out there will be a lot of repetitions and teaching the game. We want to build a program year after year and start moving up in the conference standings."
Ross said the all-weather field, the only one in the Jayhawk Conference, opens up a wealth of opportunities. "It's amazing. Not having to spend a lot of time preparing the field will allow more time to work with our student-athletes. Also, there's so much room. I've already got lots of ideas and plans. A great opportunity all around. I could not ask for more."
An outstanding player in her own right, Ross was a member of an Oklahoma City University softball team that won back-to-back national championships. She also played competitively in Canada, Europe and the U.S. An Education major at Oklahoma City, Ross was named to Who's Who Among America Teachers in 2004-05. A member of the NFCA since 1999, she has served as a keynote speaker for numerous leadership conventions. She began her coaching career in 1999 as an assistant at Blinn (Tex.) Junior College and was an assistant at the University of Oregon for one year before taking the head coaching position at Iowa Western.