Geno Ford named Bradley Basketball coach
March 27, 2011
Geno Ford, the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year the last two seasons at Kent State University, will become the 13th head coach in Bradley Basketball history when he is formally introduced to the public during a noon press conference Monday in the Renaissance Coliseum arena.
“I am ecstatic to work at such a great institution with such a rich basketball history,” said Ford. “The passionate Bradley fan base, academic excellence and exceptional facilities will give us an opportunity to compete at the highest levels of the Missouri Valley Conference.
“I would like to thank President (Joanne) Glasser and Dr. (Michael) Cross for affording me the opportunity to lead the Braves. I am excited about the support for our program and the resources we have to achieve at the highest levels. The investments made in our program will give us a chance to achieve our maximum potential.”
In his third season at the helm of the Kent State program, Ford, 36, became the first men’s basketball coach to lead his team to consecutive, outright MAC regular-season titles in 48 years. After winning the 2009-10 title with a 13-3 league record, Ford welcomed back only three returning players for the title defense, but successfully navigated the season with 10 newcomers to earn the repeat MAC championship in 2010-11 with a 12-4 conference mark. Denied a trip to the NCAA Tournament after losing in the MAC Tournament championship game, Kent State won NIT contests on both coasts – at Saint Mary’s (Calif.) and Fairfield -- before dropping an 81-74 decision at No. 1 seed Colorado in the quarterfinals to finish the season with a 25-12 overall record.
Ford produced a 68-37 (.648) record in his three seasons at Kent State, including a 35-13 (.729) ledger in the Mid-American Conference. In addition to his two MAC Coach-of-the-Year Awards, Ford was the 2009 NABC District 14 Coach of the Year. Including previous head coaching stints at NAIA Shawnee State (22-10 in 2001-02) and NCAA Division III Muskingum (29-22 from 2005-07), Ford comes to Bradley with a six-year career record of 119-69 (.633).
“Geno Ford met every quality that I was seeking in the head coach of Bradley Basketball,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Cross. “He has tremendous values, high basketball IQ, is a gifted and charismatic communicator, appreciates the educational quality of Bradley and has demonstrated he is a proven winner time and time again.
“Coach Ford is a perfect fit for Bradley and I have every confidence that our program will thrive under his leadership. I look forward to working with Geno on a daily basis and welcoming his family to the Peoria community.”
Ford earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Ohio University in 1997 and his master’s degree in athletic administration from Ohio in 1999. He was a high-scoring guard for the Bobcats from 1993-97, finishing his career as the fifth-leading scorer in school history with 1,752 points and earning second-team All-MAC honors in 1995-96 and first-team honors in 1996-97.
Ford immediately began his coaching career upon graduation, averaging 17.8 points per game for the British Basketball League Leicester Riders in 1997-98, while serving as head coach for the Riders’ junior team.
He returned to his alma mater in 1998 as a graduate assistant coach under Ohio head coach Larry Hunter and was promoted to assistant coach on the Bobcats staff in 1999. In his first year as full-time Bobcats assistant, Ford was on the bench for Ohio’s 63-52 win against Bradley in the third round of the 1999 Rainbow Classic.
Ford quickly earned his first head coaching position in 2001 when he took over the NAIA program at Shawnee State, and he was named the American Mideast Conference Coach of the Year in his lone season after guiding the Bears to a 22-10 record and 10-win improvement compared to the previous season.
He returned to the MAC the next season, however, with a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Kent State. From 2002-05 as an assistant for the Golden Flashes, Ford helped Kent State to a 62-31 (.667) record, a pair of MAC East Division titles and a trio of NIT appearances.
Ford began his second stint as a head coach in 2005 at Muskingum and immediately produced the program’s best record in 15 years by guiding the Muskies to a 17-9 record in 2005-06. He followed with a 12-13 mark in 2006-07, before returning to Kent State as an assistant in 2007-08.
Leading the recruiting effort that landed 2008 MAC Player of the Year Al Fisher, Ford helped Kent State to a 28-7 record in 2007-08, which culminated in a sweep of the MAC regular-season and tournament titles and a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the best tourney seed in KSU history. In seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio and Kent State, Ford helped the two MAC schools to a combined 149-72 (.674) record, meaning his teams boast a 268-141 (.655) record in his overall, 13-year college coaching career.
Ford’s teams also have excelled beyond the hardwood. In his first year as Kent State head coach, his players combined for the program’s best semester grade point average during the 2008 Fall semester and five of his student-athletes have been honored at the Judith K. Devine Athletic Academic Honors Dinner each of the last two years.
One of the most prolific scorers in Ohio High School history, Ford was tabbed “Mr. Basketball” in 1993 by the Ohio Associated Press following his senior season at Cambridge High School in which he averaged 35.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Playing for his father, Gene, the 5-foot-8 guard poured in 2,680 career points, ranking him third all-time in the state, 34 points better than current NBA superstar LeBron James (2,646).
Geno Ford was inducted into the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2004. After 24 years as the head coach at Cambridge, the elder Ford took over at Muskingum - his alma mater - in 2007-08.
Ford and his wife, Traci, are the parents of two sons: Darin (15) and David (7).
Ford will take over a Bradley program that finished 12-20 overall in 2010-11 and tied for ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season standings with a 4-14 league record. The Braves are expected to return nine lettermen and five of the top seven scorers for the 2011-12 season.