Ross Randall announced Tuesday his retirement from the Kansas University athletic department effective immediately.
After 30 years with the university — the first 28 as head men’s golf coach, the past two as director of golf — Randall, 63, stepped aside. He said he and wife Linda will continue to live in Lawrence, where they share a home with their feisty Bichon Frise dogs.
The Randalls stay in close touch with most of the players Ross coached, beginning in 1980.
“I just transferred to a non-university phone today, and I had 175 contacts,” Randall said. “Probably about 85 are players. They call me from time to time, and I call them, too. The fun thing is watching the guys grow up and how they change, how they mature.”
During his two years as director of golf operations, Randall played a big part in raising funds for the golf team’s new indoor practice facility at Alvamar.
“We got that done, and that’s a really neat thing,” Randall said. “And that’s going to help both teams.”
Randall coached five All-Americans at KU, including three-time selections Chris Thompson, Ryan Vermeer and Chris Marshall. In 1999, Randall coached KU to its first conference tournament title in 49 years.
Seven of his teams competed in the NCAA Championships, 19 in the NCAA Regionals.
“He dedicated his professional life to helping young men become better golfers and better people, and we are grateful for his service,” KU athletic director Lew Perkins said in a statement released by the school.
Randall’s retirement could lead to the hiring of an assistant coach to help men’s head coach Kit Grove line up recruits. The team has fallen on hard times the past couple of seasons, but Randall predicts better times are coming.
“We’ve been close on some really good players in recruiting,” Randall said. “We lost a couple by an eyelash, and just a couple of players makes all the difference in the world. He’s got some good ones coming in. I think they’re going to be fine. The administration gives them really nice support. The indoor practice facility makes it a whole lot better during the winter time.”