Jim Kross
Jim Kross
  • Previous College:
    Riverside City College


James was born in Teaneck, New Jersey and also lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before settling in Riverside, CA for 65 years. He served in the U.S. Navy with 2 tours of duty in Vietnam, graduated from Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and eventually retired as a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve (12/61-9/99) as CDR05.

Jim started his collegiate athletic and academic career at Riverside City College (RCC) where he obtained his AA degree followed by his BA from Fresno State College in Physical Education, Health Ed/Physical Science. He went on to earn his Master of Arts in Education and Physical Education and Master of Arts in  Psychology in 1979 from Azusa Pacific College.

From 1960-62 Jim was a student athlete at RCC playing both football and basketball. He made All-Eastern Conference and was named to the All-American first team. At Fresno State Jim focused on collegiate football. He even had the possibility to play professional football but instead chose to serve his country, joining the US Navy.

He began his teaching and coaching career at John North High School from 1968-1972. From 1979 to 2000, when he retired, he was a faculty member, coach and administrator at RCC. Jim was appointed as the head football coach in 1974 and eventually succeeded T. Mark Johnson to become the Athletic Director, a position he held for 19 years. He helped shape the athletic department during the time when Title IX was shaping women’s sports. Jim did not support women’s sports because the law dictated it, but because he believed in the benefits to women, and because it was the right thing to do.

Jim was known for his loyalty and was dedicated to RCC and the Riverside community. As a strong believer in cooperating with the local high school sports programs, he would share RCC facilities with them on a regular basis. He was an advocate for the RCC leadership programs. You could often find him organizing team-building activities at various management retreats.

Considering the constant financial needs of sports teams, Jim was also at the forefront of RCC’s fundraising activities, with the two largest being the annual golf tournament and the Monte Carlo night. Above all, Jim was dedicated to the student athletes, keeping their welfare in mind at all times and emphasizing the value of getting an education. In 2002, Jim was inducted in the Riverside City College Athletics Hall of Fame.

James Matthews Kross passed away on September 19, 2015. He is survived by his wife Carolyn Sue of Riverside, who is accepting today’s award on his behalf; daughter Jill Marie of El Cajon, CA; son Matthew James of Lake Havasu, AZ; brother John Kross of Texas; stepchildren Steven Bradley and Karen Bradley, both of Redlands, CA and Warren (Maria) Bradley of Menifee, CA; and 6 grandchildren.