HOF coach Gene Ford takes over at Muskingum College


Gene Ford

After guiding Cambridge High School to five state tournaments in 25 years, Ohio High School Hall of Fame boys basketball coach Gene Ford takes over for his son Geno at Muskingum College. Ford's semi-retirement from coaching didn’t last very

Gene Ford’s semi-retirement from coaching didn’t last very

Ford, who made
his mark as a highly-successful high school basketball coach for 30 years,
including 25 years at Cambridge High School, is back on the sidelines in a
place he’s somewhat of a sports icon — Muskingum College.

With the
decision of Ford’s oldest son, Geno, to yield the Muskie coaching reigns after
two seasons to return to Kent State University as an assistant coach under Jim
Christian, the older Ford quickly moved to the top of the list of candidates
for the job at his alma mater and the fit was ideal.

“Muskingum was
very good to me,” Ford said. “I’m excited to become a part of the rich athletic
tradition at Muskingum. The college experience is so unique so any time you
have a chance to go back to where you were able to compete in a conference (the
Ohio Athletic Conference) recognized as a very good Division III conference,
it’s a great opportunity. It’s a chance to see if you can give something back
to the school that has given so much to you.”

Officials at
Muskingum College welcomed the addition of Ford to the coaching staff.

“We are
excited to have our alumnus Gene Ford lead our men's basketball program,”
Muskingum College President Anne C. Steele said. “Our student-athletes, along
with the entire College community, will benefit from Gene’s years of proven
leadership and his breadth of experience both on and off the basketball court.”

“His knowledge of the game of basketball
is outstanding,” said Larry Shank, Muskingum College’s athletic director. “He
will represent Muskingum well and get the most out of our players, athletically
and academically.”

Ford says
there are a few adjustments necessary when going from the high school to
college level.

“The biggest
thing is depth,” he said. “You have to play more kids at the college level and
your substitution pattern becomes more critical. The game is played at faster
pace, but you have more than just one or two guys who are capable of scoring,

As for his
coaching style, fans can expect the same old Ford on the bench.

“I’m more animated…he’s more cerebral,” he said, referring
to son Geno’s coaching style. “I’ll be emotional and get after it, but the guys
have gotten used to me the last two years so it won’t be a problem at all.”

finished with an overall 12-13 record last season, including a 6-12 mark in the
Ohio Athletic Conference. 

The team will
return its top six scorers, however, including senior Brandon Todd (17.7 points
per game); junior Trevor Scott (13.3 ppg); sophomore Pat Byrne (10.4 ppg);
sophomore Cory Bourquin (7.4 ppg); junior Andy Glass (6.5 ppg); and senior
Jeremy Ady (6.2 ppg).

Ford started
his coaching career at Shenandoah High, posting an 8-13 record during the
1974-75 season before moving on to Tuscarawas Valley for five years (1975-80)
where he was 32-66. He then began a 25-year run at Cambridge in 1980 where he
amassed a 400-183 record, giving him an overall coaching mark of 440-262 when
he retired at the end of the 2004-05 season.

At Cambridge,
Ford led his teams to 18 sectional titles, eight district crowns and five
regional titles leading to five state tournament appearances (1988, ’92, ’95,
’96 and 2000). The 1994-95 team finished as the Ohio Division II state
runner-up. His teams also won or shared 10 East Central Ohio League

He was named
OHSBCA Division II “Coach of the Year” in 1988 and also won “Coach of the Year”
honors in the Eastern District, OVAC, ECOL and District 12. He received the
OVAC’s Earl Haberfield Coaches Award in 2006.

He received a
pair of prestigious honors earlier this year, gaining induction into the Ohio
High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and receiving the OHSAA
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Award representing the Eastern

Ford has served as president of the District 12 Basketball
Coaches Association, as a trustee for the OHSAA Foundation and on the Board of
Directors of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Museum.

As a high
school athlete, Ford (a 1970 graduate of Indian Valley North High School)
earned 11 varsity letters (four in baseball, four track, three in basketball).
He scored 1,310 points in basketball, earning All-Ohio, All-Eastern District
and All-Inter Valley Conference honors and he was a state qualifier in the pole
vault in track.

At the college
level, the 1974 Muskingum College graduate was a four-year letterman who scored
1,717 career points. He was selected to the UPI “Small America” team and the
National Association of Basketball Coaches District 4 All-American team; was a
two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection, including the conference
“Athlete of the Year” as a senior; and was a charter member of the Muskingum
College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.

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