Ross Doane and Kelli Krows have a lot of respect for one another. The respect has been there for years, but on occasion, it was toppled with a healthy dose of dislike.
“I wasn’t a big fan of Coach Doane, because his team was one of our biggest rivals,” said Krows, recalling her high school basketball career.
Krows was a stand-out All-State basketball player at Seiling, and Doane was coach of the girls’ basketball team at Okeene while Kelli was in high school.
“Okeene always has a good girls team, and because he was from Okeene, I was not too fond of Coach Doane,” Krows recalled.
However, since those rivalry days, Doane has moved to Medford High School, where he is head boys basketball coach, head softball coach, girls track coach, athletic director and teaches elementary physical education.
Krows went on to play basketball at Southwestern State University for one year, and finish her college career at Northwestern State University in Alva, where she was a 5’7” guard and captain for the Lady Ranger basketball team. She also received Academic All-Conference and NAIA Academic All-American honors, graduating in 2010.
Doane also graduated from Northwestern in 1992 with two degrees—one in health and physical education and one in elementary education. He played two years of college baseball.
Although their college graduation dates were 18 years apart, a common thread runs through their lives, beginning with the Baptist Student Union (for Doane) Baptist Collegiate Ministry (for Krows) at Northwestern.
Larry Justice, BSU/BCM director at Northwestern, was a key component in each of their spiritual lives while they were in college.
“I grew up in a Baptist church, but when I went to college, there weren’t many Christians on the baseball team, and I felt like I was slipping away,” said Doane. “One day, I showed up at the BSU, and Larry made me feel welcome. He invited me to different events, and I developed friendships and became involved.”
Krows’ story is similar.
“Larry actually called me when he heard I’d been recruited by Northwestern,” remembered Krows. “He said he’d heard I could sing and wanted me to be a part of their praise and worship band. Larry was very instrumental in getting me involved in the BCM.”
Justice said in his 35 years as a BSU director in Oklahoma, Doane and Krows are at the top of the list of those who exhibited the type of character and Christian commitment campus ministers dream about.
“I have been fortunate to have many high-quality students, but these two are in the top one percent,” said Justice. “Both were unafraid of sharing their faith with others,” Justice said.
Both Doane and Krows were saved at an early age. Doane was baptized when he was 8, but said when kids from his church came back from Falls Creek and gave their testimonies, he felt a need to accept Christ and nail down his salvation. He was baptized again at Watonga, First at age 12 and said he has never looked back.
Krows was also 8 when she made a commitment to Christ at Seiling, First.
“I remember the song, “Five Rows Back,” was being sung,” she said. “It talked about Jesus, how He suffered, bled and died, and He did it for all who were like me. When the preacher got up to preach, and said ‘If you feel your heart pounding and you’re missing something, you need Jesus.’ I knew that was me, but I was upset because I was sitting six rows back, not five.”
Doane taught and coached at Perkins before moving to Okeene, and has been at Medford for four years, where his boys basketball team participated in the state tournament two years ago.
Joining Doane on the Medford faculty this fall will be Kelli Krows, who has accepted the job of head girls basketball coach and math teacher.
Now, instead of opposing each other, they will be working on the same team, and Krows has totally changed her opinion of Doane.
“Ross has been great helping me learn the ropes and answering questions I’ve had. I love him and his family, (which includes wife Lynn, and daughters Kenzie, 7 and Kelsie, 5,)” said Krows.
Not only will the two be working together on the court, but both will be examples of how to live the Christian life, said Justice.
“Ross and Kelli will be disciplinarians on and off the court, yet their team members will learn quickly that both will be very caring and committed to more than Medford Cardinal basketball,” said Justice. “Their commitment is to Jesus Christ and expressed to their players with strong ethics and a compassionate hand on the shoulder.”
Doane said he tries to live his life by example.
“The Bible says we are to win people to Christ,” he said. “Hopefully, my students will see Christ in me.”
He noted that in a small community, you can do things that you can’t in a larger setting.
“We always pray as a team,” he said. “They know what Coach Doane lives for.”
Doane and his wife also host a Bible study for students in their home.
Although Krows has just stepped in the classroom and on the court as a teacher and coach, she said first and foremost she is engulfing her classroom and court in prayer and is praying over her players.
“I want to show these kids love,” she said. “That may be through discipline or through encouragement, but they need to know that Christ is love.”
She said she doesn’t necessarily have to use words to be a witness, so hopefully through her actions, they will see there is something different about her, and that difference is the Savior she serves.
“It is an honor to have students like Ross and Kelli demonstrating such a positive influence on the lives of high school students, fellow teachers and administrators, as well as opposing coaches and players,” said Justice. “Ross and Kelli are much more than former students; they are very good friends. I anticipate that in the not-too-distant future, each will lead their respective teams to accept the Gold Ball as Oklahoma champions.”