In 16 seasons at Ole Miss, head coach Ernest Ross has led the Rebels to seven NCAA appearances, including a fourth place finish in 1985, the 1984 SEC Championship, 27 regular-season tournament titles and two SEC Coach of the Year awards.
In 2004, Ross returned to his alma mater and a program he once built to SEC and national prominence. After spending 16 years as the head professional at the Country Club of Jackson, Ross returned to his first love - coaching - and immediately set out to steer the Rebels back to the pinnacle of college golf. Since his return, the Rebels have made five NCAA Regional appearances, 11 All-SEC honorees and two All-Americans.
RECENT SUCCESS Senior Joe David ended his career as an Ole Miss Rebel strong, earning 10 top 20 finishes, six in the top 10, and three in the top 5. His stroke average of 71.35, was the third lowest of all time in school history. David also recieved an individual invitation to the NCAA Athens Regional, cementing himself as one of the best in Rebel Golf history. Highlighted by a 3-under par in the second round, David went on to place T8th, barely missing the cut for the next round, giving him his sxith top 10 finish on the season. David particpated in a NCAA Regional Tournament all four years while at Ole Miss. David was also named to the PING All-Region Team for the second time in his career marking the fourth straight year that Ole Miss has had a golfer named PING All-Region.
In 2011, Ross led Ole Miss to its fifth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance as the Rebels competed in the East Regional in Blacksburg, Va. David led the Rebels, tying for 10th at the regional. Mississippi native Jonathan Randolph ended his outstanding career earning All-SEC honors for the second consecutive year.
The 2010 season saw the Rebels compete in the NCAA Southeast Regional in Alpharetta, Ga. Randolph had a banner year on the course, becoming the ninth All-American in the history of the program and earning All-SEC first team honors. He ended the year ranked No. 6 in Golfweek. Randolph posted the lowest stroke average (70.44) in the SEC and in the history of Ole Miss men's golf.
In 2009, Ole Miss participated in the NCAA Central Regional in Bowling Green, Ky. They just missed out on advancing to the NCAA Finals, finishing sixth. Randolph tied for seventh to lead the Rebels and earned PING All-South Region honors along with David. David also earned All-SEC second team honors and made the SEC All-Freshman Team. Off the course, Stefan Strandlund earned Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-Scholar honors.
In 2008, the Rebels qualified for the NCAA East Regional on the heels of capturing four tournament titles. Ole Miss made history on Oct. 23, 2007, winning the rain-shortened Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (for the second year in a row), to become the first team in Rebel history to win three consecutive golf tournaments. The streak began with the Memphis Intercollegiate, followed by the Squire Creek Invitational. In the spring, the Rebels held off then No. 2 Georgia to capture the Linger-Longer Invitational at Reynolds Plantation. Jesse Speirs earned second team All-SEC honors and Randolph made the SEC All-Freshman Team. A highlight in 2008, the Rebels hosted the first annual BancorpSouth Intercollegiate at Reunion Golf and Country Club. The tournament was a success, and this year's field will feature another strong regional field.
After a six-year absence from postseason play, Ross guided the Rebels to the 2007 NCAA East Regional and a fourth place finish at the SEC Championship. The team led the field after day one and ended up with their best finish in 19 years. Will Roebuck turned in the best showing for a Rebel at the SECs since 1996, with his fourth place effort. Callum Macaulay earned All-SEC honors and led the Rebels in stroke average.
ROSS RETURNS Soon after Ross' return in the fall of 2004, the Rebels enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in school history. The improvement over the course of just one season was staggering and almost hard to believe.
Just five months after finishing last at the SEC Championships, Ole Miss claimed its first tournament title since March 21, 1999, with a first-place effort (279-278-284--841) at the 15-team Raising Cane Classic in Hattiesburg, Miss.
In Ross' first season back, Jordan Dempsey registered one of the most successful five-week periods of any individual in school history. Dempsey closed out the fall season in 2004 with a nine-under-par 207 (69-69-69) at the University Club Intercollegiate after posting four straight top-five finishes -- fourth at the Raising Cane Classic, second at the Mason Rudolph Championships, a tie for second at the Memphis Intercollegiate and a tie for third at the Gary Koch/Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate.
Dempsey did not stop there as he went on to earn All-SEC first team honors and was selected to play in the NCAA East Regional as an individual. He concluded the 2004-05 season with the lowest stroke average in the SEC at 71.47.
In 2005-06, the Rebels won three tournaments, including the Squire Creek Invitational, the Magnolia Cup and the USA Spring Classic.
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION A native Mississippian, Ross played for the Rebels in the 70s and later became the head coach in 1979. In his first stint with the Rebels (1979-87), Ross produced great results.
After the Rebels finished ninth at the SEC Championships during his first season, Ross guided Ole Miss to a second-place effort in 1982 and the conference crown in 1984. Ross was named SEC Coach of the Year in both `82 and `84.
Under his guidance, the Rebels made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1984 and 1985. The `85 campaign ended with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Ross also led the Rebels to 16 regular-season tournament titles during his first stint in Oxford.
Several individual accomplishments were also seen during Ross' first eight seasons at Ole Miss. Randy Watkins (1982), Dave Peege (1984 & 1985) and Darren Cole (1984 & 1985) earned All-America honors. Peege also picked up SEC Player of the Year accolades in 1984, while Peege and Cole were named Co-Players of the Year in 1985.
PLAYERS ACHIEVE SUCCESS AFTER OLE MISS Many of Ross' players have gone on to experience success in both the amateur and professional ranks.
Vance Veazey, who played for Ross in the late 80s, earned his PGA TOUR card for 2010 after finishing among the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour in 2009. He won the first event (Panama Digicel Championship) of the year on the Nationwide Tour and posted three top-10 finishes.
Callum Macaulay finished up his career at Ole Miss in 2007 and enjoyed a highly-successful amateur career before turning pro. Macaulay made it to the semifinals of the 2007 British Amateur, considered the top amateur tournament in Europe, and won his first ever national championship, capturing the 2008 Scottish Amateur. He won the Scottish Golf Order of Merit in 2007, and was ranked among the top 20 in the World Golf Amateur Rankings. In the fall of 2008, he helped lead Scotland to their first ever World Amateur Team Championship.
Macaulay qualified for the 2009 European Tour and earned a career-best second-place finish at the Madeira Islands Open BPI, narrowly missing the win.
More recent former Rebels have competed in the U.S. Amateur, including Jonathan Randolph and Joe David, who both qualified in 2009. Randolph advanced to match play.
Chip Sullivan, the director of golf at Hanging Rock Golf Club in Salem, Va., won the 2007 PGA Club Professional National Championship and helped the United States reclaim the PGA Cup later that year. In the summer of 2008, he became the first reigning PGA Professional National Champion to compete in the Japan PGA Championship, where he tied for 18th. Sullivan has also competed in several PGA Tour events that season. Since turning professional in 1987, Sullivan has won more than 80 PGA-sanctioned events.
Jordan Dempsey won his first pro title in 2007, claiming the NGA Hooter's Buffalo Run Casino Classic. In 2008, Chris Rogers qualified for the PGA TOUR's Stanford St. Jude (Memphis, Tenn.) and just missed making the cut. In May of 2009, Rogers captured the Walnut Creek Championship of the eGolf Professional Tour. Another Mississippi native, Kyle Ellis, won his first professional event in 2010, capturing the NGA Hooters Chattahoochee Hospice Classic.
OTHER CAREER SUCCESS Ross' experience extends beyond coaching, as he also has a great deal of experience in golf course management, having worked at several country clubs throughout the United States. Prior to his first appointment at Ole Miss, Ross was employed at the Grenada Country Club (Grenada, Miss.), the Country Club of Darien (Darien, Conn.) and the Leflore Country Club (Greenwood, Miss.).
In between his coaching stints, Ross was the head professional at Tiger Point Golf and Country Club (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) for one year and the head pro at the Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) for 16 years.
Ross is a four-time Mississippi PGA Player of the Year, a four-time Mississippi PGA Chapter Champion, a two-time Gulf States PGA Section Champion and the 1991 Gulf States PGA Match Play Champion. His best professional finish was a 19th-place effort on the 1991 Ben Hogan Tour.
Ross has attended over 25 National PGA Seminars, taught at the PGA National Junior Golf Academy, achieved PGA Master Professional status and passed the PGA Specialty Certification in both Golf Cart Fleet Management and Teaching. He was selected Gulf States PGA Teacher of the Year in 1994, Private Clubs PGA Merchandiser of the Year in 1995, Mississippi PGA Professional of the Year in 2001, Golf Digest Mississippi No. 1 Teacher in 2001 and 2002 and Gulf States PGA Junior Golf Leader in 2003.
He has served as Tournament Chairman of the Skytel Invitational and the Farm Bureau Invitational, plus Sponsor Chairman of the Farm Bureau Invitational.
FAMILY Ross is a 1974 Ole Miss graduate and 1998 Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. He and his wife, the former Julianna Muse, have two sons, Don and Christian.
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