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