Oral History of Ralph Ross

Interview conducted by Kevin Solomon on December 9, 1997, for Professor Tom Forgey's class in Arkansas History at Southern Arkansas University. The interview took place at the SAU Athletic Department in Magnolia, Arkansas, and was part of "Golden Reflections," an intergenerational project organized by Nancy Bailey of the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas, Inc. The transcript below is an excerpt of this taped-recorded interview. The original audio tape is archived at Magale Library at Southern Arkansas University.


"The focus of my oral history report was to interview someone who has knowledge of the local history of the south Arkansas area. I chose to talk with Ralph Ross, a man who has lived in Magnolia for 55 years and who has been involved with Southern Arkansas University athletics for 27 years. Initially, I knew Ross only as the "Ticket Man." However, Ross is a very interesting person and has a lot of knowledge regarding the history of athletics at Southern Arkansas University, which became the focal point of my interview. Being an athlete at SAU himself, Ross had some very interesting stories of times past for the Muleriders. There is a statement that says something to the effect that one "bleeds Arkansas Razorback Red" or "Dallas Cowboy Blue." I feel it is not an understatement to say that Coach Ross bleeds 'Mulerider Blue and Gold'."

"Throughout the interview I tried to ask questions that Ross might be able to answer succinctly and then expand on. However, this does not occur all the time. Ross answered some questions directly and others, perhaps, indirectly and not right to the point. Having worked along side Coach Ross for over two years, I have had plenty of quality conversations with him. This interview was definitely no exception."

Kevin Solomon


Kevin Solomon (KS): Okay, I am just going to go through a few basic questions first, like birthplace, date of birth, and others and then go into World War II and Southern Arkansas University.

Ralph Ross (RR): Yes, go ahead.

KS: You were born where? Here in Magnolia?

RR: No, I was born in Gilliam, Arkansas (fist pump!)

KS: Gilliam, Arkansas? Where about is that?

RR: North of DeQueen on Highway 71.

KS: What year were you born?

RR: 1923!

KS: Well then your barely 30!!!! (accompanied by laughter by both Coach Ross and myself).

KS: And do you live here in Magnolia now?

RR: I have lived here for 55 years.

KS: When you lived in DeQueen (Gilliam correctly) did you go to a grade school, public school?

RR: Gilliam! Yes, I went to grade school. Public school and High school.

KS: Was that common for every kid your age? Did everybody go through the school system?

RR: Oh, yes.