Muskingum University Mens Basketball coach Gene Ford has announced his retirement, according to a press release Monday, March 2.
Ford is a 1974 graduate of Muskingum University and was the head coach for the Muskies for the last eight years. His retirement marked the end of a 39 year coaching career.
“It’s the right time,” said Ford. “I’ve had [almost] 40 years of basketball and enjoyed every minute of it.”
Ford believes that the timing was perfect for the school, stating that it gives Muskingum plenty of time to find the next head coach.
Ford is a charter member of the Muskingum Athletic Hall of Fame, being inducted in 1980. Ford was a four-year letter winner for the Muskies in his time as a student, and was also an All-American honoree and three-time All-OAC selection. He also helped lead the Muskies to two OAC conference titles.
Ford finished his playing career with 1,717 points, which still ranks second all-time in Muskie history.
Ford looks back on his coaching career with thankful eyes, stating the time he spent with players was the most important to him.
“They get a hold of you and communicate with you from time to time and that just makes you feel good,” said Ford.
Ford will not be involved with the search for his replacement, leaving the decision up to the administration, including Athletic Director Larry Shank.
“I just wish the next coach the best,” said Ford. “Hopefully he can be successful.”
The move came as no surprise to Shank, as Ford had communicated his plans with the athletic department before making his final decision.
“It wasn’t a last minute decision,” said Shank. “It’s something coach has thought about and I understand his decision.”
Shank also said that the decision didn’t shock him, but also admitted that he wasn’t expecting it so soon.
“I didn’t think it would be this year,” said Shank.
Shank also had high praise for Ford, being very appreciative of the work Ford has done.
“Everything that was asked of him, he did,” said Shank. “He was very good with everyone in the department.”
Shank also shared a personal friendship with Ford and had one final message for the departing coach.
“I’m going to miss him,” said Shank. “He always had a very positive outlook on things.”
The search for Ford’s successor is already underway according to Shank. Shank said the University will continue to accept applications for the position for the next couple of weeks, then the field would be narrowed to the top choices and the school would then proceed from that point.