Fairfield Ludlowe decided to go to the top of the food chain to fill its vacant football coaching vacancy.
Mitch Ross, a long-time Darien assistant, was hired today by the Falcons. Ross replaces Vinnie Camera, who resigned after five years and coming off a winless season.
Ludlowe athletic director Todd Parness informed the parents of players in a letter.
“He’s got a wealth of experience, not only coming from Darien, and he has a real commitment to education and putting the players first,” Parness said. “One of his priorities is to make football one of the greatest experiences for his players.”
Ross, a dermatologist who practices in Greenwich, is a 1978 graduate of Staples.
Ross is on vacation with his family, but wrote in an e-mail, “We have accomplished so much in Darien over the last decade or so and I have been very fortunate to share in that great success. I am extraordinarily sad to be leaving the Blue Wave and especially next year’s senior class, which is the strongest and most coherent in Darien’s history. However, the administrators at Ludlowe are very committed to turning around the team’s fortunes and they made it very clear that they felt I was needed to help them fulfill their vision.”
Ross joined the Darien staff 13 years ago, under former coach Mike Masuk, overseeing defensive backs, receivers and special teams, and for the last seven years has been one of two offensive coordinators, in charge of the passing game, under current coach Rob Trifone.
The Blue Wave last month won its second straight Class LL title and repeated as the No. 1 team in the state.
“He’s a wonderful guy to work with,” Trifone said. “He’s very low-key, very bright. It’s always hard to lose great coaches, but they have aspirations and you never want to stand in their way when they want to be a head coach. I’m happy for Mitch. Ludlowe is obviously a program that needs help based on statistics.”
The Falcons were 12-29 under Camera and coming off a tumultuous season in which they went 0-10 and several players reportedly walked out of a practice after their seventh loss.
“The job to transform football at Ludlowe faces hurdles, which don’t exist in Darien and some other successful programs,” Ross said. “Fairfield, a town with a population smaller than Greenwich, has four high schools (and) presents a challenge to unifying a football team. However, the challenge is what makes the opportunity for myself, the players and the administrators exciting. My first mission is simply to make football fun and a positive experience for every player, which is beneficial to players in not only their high school years, but in their entire lives.”