UMass names Travis Ford men’s head basketball coach
Amherst, MA (Sports Network) – The University of Massachusetts announced
Friday the hiring of Travis Ford as its new men’s head basketball
coach. Ford takes over for Steve Lappas, who was fired earlier this month.
The 35-year-old Ford, who just completed his fifth season at Eastern Kentucky,
agreed to a five-year contract with a base salary of $200,000 annually. The
deal for the 20th head coach in the program’s history also includes additional
incentives and bonus options.
Ford compiled a 61-80 record during his tenure at Eastern Kentucky. He was a
hot commodity after leading the Colonels to their best record in school
history. Eastern Kentucky just completed a 22-9 campaign in 2004-05. The
school captured the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title and earned an
automatic berth in 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.
“We are extremely pleased that Travis Ford and his wife Heather have become
part of the UMass family,” said director of athletics John McCutcheon. “He
brings exactly the kind of experience, energy and charisma that we were hoping
to find in a head coach. Travis distinguished himself from an outstanding
group of candidates and we could not be more excited about the impact his
appointment will have on the future of UMass Basketball.”
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 campaign 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
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.