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Chuck: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Sunday, September 29, 2013
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One thing is clear. Chuck Ross may be gone, but he is never going to be forgotten as long as the numerous people whose lives he touched are still around.

Approximately 500 people attended “A Celebration of Life” for Chuck Sunday afternoon at Allen Arena. The hour-and-a –half was filled with memories and stories of Chuck, known as “Super Fan” for Lipscomb, the Nashville Sounds, Maplewood High School and numerous other schools.

His penchant for phoning people at all hours of the day and night to find answers to questions is as legendary as his fan loyalties.

“Chuck should be in the “Guinness Book of World Records”  for all of the phone calls he made,” said former “Tennessean” sports writer Jimmy Davy who wrote Chuck’s biography, “Beat’em and Beat’em Bad”.

Martha Ann Hawkins and Phil Sanders provided music to accompany a video of photos of Chuck prepared by Ronda Sanderson.

Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb’s Director of Athletics, welcomed the crowd that came together to honor Chuck who passed way earlier this month at the age of 68.

Jonathan Seamon interviewed former Bison basketball players Alan Banks, Richard Taylor, Chris Martello, Greg Glenn and Keith Edwards.

Tom Kelsey, a former Lipscomb player who is part of the basketball staff at Louisiana State, introduced former Lipscomb coach Don Meyer.

As part of his introduction Kelsey also talked about how he remembers Chuck. He stressed that those who played for coach Meyer had three things instilled in them. He also added that those three things were also embodied in the way Chuck lived his life.

“The first he taught us was to be prepared,” Kelsey said. “Chuck always had plenty of pens and was always ready.

“Another thing coach taught was to always be great teammates. Chuck was a great teammate. No matter if we won or loss he loved us no matter what.

“Coach always taught us to be passionate about your job, your family, your church or whatever it might be. Chuck was passionate.”

Kelsey added that those who were fortunate enough to attend Lipscomb, who might not have known the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament before they came to campus, were able to see the Christian life in action through Chuck.

Kelsey recalled the special relationship between Coach Meyer and Chuck.

“Those who watched that day after day saw some special things,” Kelsey said. “We saw respect.  We saw gratitude. We saw humility. But most of all we saw how to love. We saw God’s love.”

Meyer provided an emotional farewell to Chuck, tearing and choking up several times during his reminiscing.

“I served as an assistant coach to Chuck Ross for 24 years,” Meyer said. “He was a hard man to work for. He didn’t like to lose. He wanted to win them all and he wanted to `beat’em and `beat’em bad’. He was a hard loser.”

Meyer once asked Chuck what he liked about being a Christian. The answer, not surprisingly, dealt partially with sports.

“Chuck said, `I like going to church services and Christian ballgames’,” Meyer said. “He watched more games probably than any man who ever lived.”

Meyer also pointed to the lessons that Chuck taught by the way he lived his life.

“Chuck always tried to do the right thing,” Meyer said. “Chuck was in heaven on this campus. He loved Lipscomb. He loved the kids and the teachers. He loved everything about it. He not only loved basketball but he cheered for every team.

“Chuck cared deeply. When people were hurt it hurt him.

“Chuck was thankful. There were so many people who helped Chuck. He needed people. Sometimes that is a hard thing to need help. I wish I had the passion that he had. I miss him.”

In addition to those who recalled memories of Chuck in person a number of people spoke on videos about their favorite stories.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, a former Sounds player; and Buster Olney, ESPN baseball analyst and former  “Nashville Banner”  sports writer; were joined by Joe Biddle, former “Banner” sports editor; Pat Embry, former “Banner” sports writer and managing editor; Joe Fisher, voice of the Vanderbilt Commodores; Hope Hines, former WTVF-TV (Channel 5) sports anchor; Rudy Kalis, WSMV-TV (Channel  4) sports director; Pete Weber, voice of the Nashville Predators, Mark Howard, 104.5 The Zone morning show co-host; and Larry Woody, former “Tennessean” sports writer.

Frank Bennett, associate athletic director and former Lady Bisons basketball coach; Patrick Cameron, assistant director of Lipscomb security; Mike Roller, Lipscomb Academy Director of Athletics; Cheryl Smith, former Lady Bisons basketball player; Ernie Smith, Lipscomb Academy baseball and girls’ basketball coach; and Scott Tillman, Lipscomb Academy football coach; represented the Lipscomb community with videos.

A Chuck Ross Spirit Scholarship has been established at Lipscomb. For more information please contact Lipscomb Athletics at 615-966-5850.