NCAA Talk

Bradley hires Ford as new men's basketball coach

Bradley hires Ford as new men's basketball coach

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Posted 8:54 p.m.

CSNChicago.com

PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley has found its new men's basketball coach, announcing the hiring of Geno Ford Sunday night.

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.

"I am ecstatic to work at such a great institution with such a rich basketball history," said Ford in a statement released by the university. "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 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 Kent State, 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 won another MAC championship in 2010-11 with a 12-4 conference mark despite only returning three players.

Although the Golden Eagles didn't make the NCAA Tournament after losing in the MAC Tournament championship game, Kent State won NIT contests on both 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 went 68-37 in his three seasons at Kent State. 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 has a record of 119-69 in his six years as a head coach.

"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.

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.

"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 was a high-scoring guard for Ohio University 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. He returned to his alma mater in 1998 as a graduate assistant and was promoted to assistant coach on the Bobcats staff in 1999.

In addition to finding success on the court, 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.

Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years

ayo-dosunmu-113.jpg
USA TODAY

Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years

Illinois basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and has endured losing records in three of the last four seasons. However, things are looking up for the Fighting Illini.

Three straight Big Ten wins have the Illini 4-2 in the league, good for second place and the No. 24 spot in the latest AP poll. It’s the first time the Illini have been ranked since Dec. 2014.


Coach Brad Underwood went 26-39 in his first two seasons in charge, but things have turned around this season. A win against Michigan on Dec. 11 gave the Illini a marquee win, but losses to Missouri and Michigan State followed soon after. The current three-game winning streak has featured a blowout win against Purdue, a one-point win at Wisconsin and a three-point win against a surprisingly good Rutgers team.

Illinois’ RPI is currently 42 so they’re far from a lock to get in the tournament, but the Illini are in good shape as of now. The last season the Illini were ranked, they had to settle for an NIT bid.

Chicago native and Morgan Park High School product Ayo Dosunmu leads the team with 15.5 points per game.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

coby-white-north-carolina.jpg
USA TODAY

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.