Report: UMass to name Ford head coach
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – The University of Massachusetts will reportedly
name Eastern Kentucky head coach Travis Ford as its new men’s head basketball
coach on Friday.
The Boston Globe is reporting that Ford met with school officials on Wednesday
to finalize the deal. The school then announced on Thursday that a press
conference will be held on Friday afternoon to make an announcement regarding
its head coaching position.
Ford, who was 61-80 in five seasons at Eastern Kentucky, fills the vacancy
after UMass fired Steve Lappas last week.
The 35-year-old Ford was a hot commodity after leading the Colonels to their
best record in school history. Eastern Kentucky just completed a 22-9 campaign
that saw the school win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title and earn
an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Colonels, who were appearing in the tournament for the first time in 26
years, were seeded 15th and lost to second-seeded and in-state rival Kentucky
in the first round.
Ford, who starred as a point guard at Kentucky in the early nineties, led the
Wildcats to a pair of Final Four appearances while being named First Team All-
Southeastern Conference in 1991-92 and 1992-93.
Prior to taking over the Colonels, Ford was at the helm of Campbellsville, an
NAIA school in Kentucky, where he went 67-31 in three seasons. He led the
school to one playoff appearance and a Mid-South Conference title while
also being named conference coach of the year following the 1998-99 season.
Lappas was dismissed following a 16-12 season, including a 9-7 mark in
Atlantic-10 play. The Minutemen, who experienced their best season since the
1999-2000 campaign, defeated nationally ranked Connecticut in December, but
lost in the first round of the Atlantic-10 Tournament for the third straight
Under Lappas’ tutelage, UMass went just 50-65 and compiled a 23-39 mark in
the A-10, while not appearing in any postseason tournaments.