There are few people who have had as full a North Murray experience as Wesley Ross.
The 2013 North Murray graduate played on the school’s first football team and has either played for or assisted every football coach in school history. He now serves as a community coach for the team while working full time as the North Georgia representative for Gov. Brian Kemp. The former offensive lineman has fond memories of helping get the North Murray program off the ground.
“I was in the first freshman class,” Ross said. “We started as freshmen and sophomores, so I was one of the first freshmen to go all the way through.”
Ross grew up going to Murray County games, but being enrolled at Bagley Middle made it an easy choice to continue on to North Murray when the school opened.
“The Bagley/Gladden rivalry was already set in so there wasn’t a chance I was going to go to Murray,” he said.
It was a fresh start of sorts when his class began playing football at the new school under former coach Larry Cornelius.
“It was definitely a different perspective, I guess, because we didn’t really have senior leadership,” Ross said. “We played a junior varsity schedule and went 4-1 so that was, I guess, the first winning season, but it was a JV schedule. The next year we went 1-9. My junior year we went 0-10, and my senior year we went 5-5. So I guess it was a process. We didn’t really have leaders in front of us. We had a class in front of us, but they’re just year older than us. We didn’t have people who had started the year before to sit us down and say, ‘Hey, here’s what it’s like to play a Calhoun or a Ringgold or Adairsville’ or whoever it was. We kind of had to listen to our coaches on that front and learn for ourselves.”
Ross has seen the program rise from a junior varsity schedule to winning a region championship in the span of basically a decade. It’s definitely a source of pride for Ross.
“I love North Murray,” Ross said. “There is probably not another person alive that loves it as much - from athletics to the school - more than I do. I think being able to be a part of a program that started from nothing (is great). I remember being at Bagley Middle School and having Dr. (Maria) Bradley come and announce that we’d be black and gold and we’d be the Mountaineers...I guess there were just so many firsts that I got to experience. It was amazing.”
Ross went on to play football in college at Maryville before injuries cut his career short. He came home and finished at Dalton State.
“Not having football is really what got me into politics,” Ross said. “I needed something to put my effort into. I had been playing football since I was nine years old. All I was ever going to do was play football and I had to find a new passion. I started interning on David Purdue’s senate campaign.”
Ross started the College Republicans at Dalton State and ran for state treasurer, which he won, and became the state-wide chairman of the College Republicans.
“I started meeting people and came to work on Hunter Hill’s campaign for governor,” Ross said. “I met Gov. Kemp through that. Once Hunter Hill didn’t make it, the governor actually called me the next day.”
After that, he joined Kemp’s staff and now he covers 42 counties as the governor’s liaison to business and the community.
“It was one of those things where I am blessed and so happy,” Ross said. “The governor is great; his family is great. Even more than having my job, getting to know the Kemp family is amazing. They are as genuine a people as you can meet. I have been blessed.”