Football: Husky Hall of Famer dies

Football: Husky Hall of Famer dies

Former All-American football player and Husky Dan Ross died May 16 at his home in Atkinson, N.H. after a jogging session. He was 49 years old.

Ross’ status as the greatest Husky gridiron player was cemented with his induction into the Northeastern Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 as a tight end.

“At Northeastern he was a man amongst boys,” said Associate Athletic Director of Communications Jack Grinold. “Without question he was the greatest player we ever had.”

Grinold was Director of Communications while Mr. Ross was a player, and was instrumental in All-American’s induction into the Northeastern Hall of Fame.

Grinold said he remembers him as a player who spoke through his actions, a man who dominated the football field with his power and was humble in life.

“I remember after games he would go fishing with his father,” said Grinold, who was on the committee that elected the tight-end into Northeastern’s Hall of Fame in 1986. “He brought us great notoriety, as a Husky and as a pro. He was a constant help to the program up until 2004, when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.”

Mr. Ross last donned a Northeastern jersey in 1978. His many Northeastern and New England records include receptions in a season (68), and career (217). He also set records for receiving yards in a season (988) and career yards (2,343), which have since been broken. His jersey, number 84, was retired by Northeastern after his final game.

The NFL came calling for his services, where he caught a record 11 passes in the 1983 Super Bowl while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers. He also earned All-Pro status in both the NFL and United States Football League.

“Dan was not only a Hall of Fame athlete,” said Director of Athletics Dave O’Brien, “But, more importantly, a Hall of Fame person. He was always there for the department to lend a hand whenever we needed in so many different ways; he did commentary on the football games at a moment’s notice and would help the coaching staff and any student athlete who needed counseling or advice.”

Mr. Ross wasted little time before making an impact in the NFL after being selected by the Bengals in the second round. He collected 41 catches for 516 yards and one touchdown, earning him an All-Rookie team selection. His last professional season was in 1986 with Green Bay. He finished his career with 290 receptions for 3,419 yards and 19 touchdowns in 104 games.

“He was all muscle and grit,” Grinold said. “He spoke through his actions on the field and was a gentle giant off the field.”

Mr. Ross is survived by his wife Joan Ross, a daughter Jillian Ross, 23, and a son, Dan Ross Jr., 22, both of Atkinson, N.H. The wake for Ross was held Friday, May 19 in Everett. The funeral service was held Saturday, May 20 in Chelsea.

“He was always a good friend to anybody in athletics,” O’Brien said. “His death is a devastating loss.”

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