Former Tiger Bill Ross Dies in Accident

Former Tiger Bill Ross Dies in Accident


Former Tiger Bill Ross Dies in Accident


By Staff Report.

Clemson, SC—Former Clemson basketball player Bill Ross died Monday in an automobile accident in the state of Florida.  A four-year letterman under Head Coach Bill Foster from 1978-82, Ross was 52 at the time of his death.

Ross was the only person who died in the five-car accident that took place at around 8 AM in Sebring, FL.   Ross was stopped at a red light when he was hit from behind by another car. He was wearing a seat belt and was on his way to work at Progress Energy, the company he had worked for the last 20 years.

Ross, a 1982 Clemson graduate, was a part of the first senior class in school history to play in four postseason tournaments, including the 1979-80 team that reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the only time a Clemson team has been one game away from the Final Four.  Ross played in 106 games in his career, 29 as a starter.  He scored 513 points, had 303 rebounds and shot 49 percent from the field, including 53 percent as a senior in the 1981-82 season.

A native of Lake Placid High School, Ross averaged 5.4 points per game as a freshman in 1978-79.  He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week for his play in the 1978 Sun Bowl Carnival, a tournament Clemson won with triumphs over UTEP and Texas Tech.

Ross played in 25 games and averaged 2.3 points a game during the 1979-80 season.  As a junior, the 6-10 center saw his most playing time, as he appeared in 31 games, 20 as a starter.  He started 20 of the last 22 games that year and averaged 5.8 points per game.

Ross had the most significant game of his career in a landmark Clemson victory on December 29, 1980 against Indiana. Playing in the Rainbow Classic in front of a sellout crowd in Honolulu, Hawaii,  Ross made his first start of the season and led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points on 6-10 shooting in the Tigers 58-57 victory over the number-15 ranked Hoosiers.
Bobby Knight’s team led by Isiah Thomas went on to win the national championship that year and it is still the only time a Clemson basketball team has beaten the eventual national champion.   Ross went up against Indiana frontcourt stars Landon Turner and Ray Tolbert that night and keyed the victory.  His 19-foot jumper with 49 seconds left cut the Hoosiers lead to one.  Forty seconds later Chris Dodds hit what proved to be the game winner.
Ross averaged 5.6 points a game as a senior in 1981-82.  He played an even 400 minutes as a top reserve in 27 games.  He saved his best performance for his Senior Day game, as he scored a career high 19 points on 8-9 shooting  in a win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Ross is survived by his wife, Joanie, and son, Dylan.



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