The man whom many called Nashville's No. 1 sports fan has died. Chuck Ross, a loyal friend to coaches, players and even sports reporters passed away Friday at the age of 69.
For more than 50 years, Ross started getting known in the Nashville sports circles. He'd often call coaches directly on the phone, same for sports reporters, and would always show up at games ready to root for his team while looking for someone ready and willing to talk sports.
While Ross didn't throw any touchdowns or hit any home runs, he had a Hall of Fame-type impact on Nashville's sports world.
The Lipscomb Bisons were his favorite team, and the friend to legendary head coach Don Meyer was known for always dressing, no matter the season, in his iconic purple jacket.
Lipscomb basketball great and athletics director Phillip Hutcheson remembers Ross was more than another fan in the stands.
"He'd usually say, 'Hey, Hutch! Hey, Hutch! I see you,'" Hutcheson said. "He rode the bus with us. He went on trips with us. He would give pre-game speeches we would write for him. He was definitely a big part of the program."
Ross never let his disabilities interfere with his sports knowledge or passion. "Beat 'em and beat 'em bad" was his rallying cry to coaches and a slogan used for the book written about his life by former Tennessean sports writer Jimmy Davy 10 years ago.
If you had a phone and knew sports, Ross would find you.
Channel 4 Sports Director Rudy Kalis talked to Ross for 40 years.
"A lot of times he would call, and he would know the score. But he would say, 'Hey, Rudy, do you know the Lipscomb score? And I would say, 'I think it was so-and-so,' and he would say, 'No, it was such-and such.' [I'd say] 'Well, Chuck, why did you call me?' [He'd say] 'I don't know buddy. How you doing?' That's Chuck. He just wanted to talk to people," Kalis said.
Without Ross, Lipscomb games will be different this year, perhaps a little quieter.
But he will be missed.
"Chuck was a friend to us no matter what, so I think we just all kind of sense, hey, that's the kind of friend we ought to be to him," Hutcheson said.
Lipscomb will host a celebration of life service for Ross later this month. Even though he never played a game, that service will be held on the basketball court inside Allen Arena.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Monday, September 1 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:04:35 GMT
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