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Only the Tough

Graceland’s NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH PATRICK ROSS has brought with him a wave of excitement about the future of the Yellowjacket football team.

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University News - Spring 22

April 27, 2022 | Georgia Seagraves

His philosophy: Only the Tough. Creating a winning team isn’t for the faint of heart and Coach Ross is recruiting young men from across the country who are ready for the challenge. Ross orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in recent college football history during his time at Lindenwood University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he led the school from only seven wins in the previous three years to 11 wins in his first season as head coach and a national championship appearance a few years later.

Commitment to Excellence

Coach Ross knows that to turn around the Graceland football program, it will take only the tough to win. He has set high expectations for his student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. Upon his hiring, Ross said, “I am extremely honored to be chosen as the next head football coach at Graceland. The commitment from Athletic Director Brady McKillip ’00 and President Draves was apparent in the interviewing process. One of the experiences I gained from 20 years of coaching is that it is hard to build and sustain a strong program without administrative support.

I am certain the administration at Graceland is committed to helping the football program elevate to the top of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. I’ve always had a lot of respect for the HAAC and I know how competitive the league is, so I’m excited to get back in and begin to build one of the best programs in the country.”

The Search Squad

The search committee, led by Graceland Men’s Soccer Head Coach Bryan Courtney ’98, worked quickly and diligently to identify Ross as their leading candidate. Courtney was joined by VP for Student Life and Dean of Students Dave Schaal ’80, Director of Athletic Operations Mari Chandler ’09, Assistant Professor of Allied Health James Geiselman, Director of Writing and Tutoring Center Roger Powell ’12, and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Twong Wells ’97. Several Graceland football alumni also assisted the search, including Jeff Criswell ’86, Greg Criswell ’86, Chris Coffin ’99, Doug Bailey ’83, Bruce Crozier ’84, Russell Bruch ’82, and Nick Uhlenhopp ’02.

“Patrick has proven to be the best candidate moving forward to rebuild our football program and develop a winning culture for years to come. We are all excited to see that Graceland has committed to the development of a winning program.”

-Jeff Criswell ’86, Former NFL Player

Alumni Engagement

With the excitement generated from the program rebuild, Graceland is working with a group of football alumni to form the Graceland Football Alumni Association and hopes to increase alumni engagement by holding events in the future. Graceland’s first home game of the 2022 season kicks off on September 3 versus Evangel University. Come check out what football has in store!


 Get Involved

We are looking forward to launching the Graceland Football Alumni Association! If you are interested in joining — as a member or serving as a decade representative — get in touch and make sure we have your correct contact information.

Joe Worlund
Senior Director of Development

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