Travis Ford left UMass hoops fans with some serious scars. Interestingly enough those scars have names — Travon Wilcher. Papa Lo. Max Groebe. Matt Glass. Marcus Mathews. Trey Lang. Matt Hill. Tyrell Lynch. Those are the dregs of Ford’s 2007 recruiting class.
I haven’t fully gotten over Ford’s departure from Amherst — even 3+ years later. Not after the state in which he left the program. For me, it was even painful to try to root for Oklahoma State during their bowl game. And that’s football.
Ford’s recruiting is a complete mystery to me. He makes Steve Lappas look stable in that area. As we look back, it looks like it maybe have been a Jon Gruden’n in Amherst when Ford took over from Lappas. Remember when Gruden took over Dungy’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers team and promptly won the Super Bowl that very first year?
Ford did nail a couple big-time recruits prior to the 2007 fiasco. Namely Chris Lowe and Ricky Harris. They were integral parts of UMass mid-2000s success under Ford. But, referring back to the title of this post, maybe it’s not even karma at all that’s holding Ford down. Maybe Ford is just hit-or-miss. With a whole lot of misses. Maybe he is only mediocre, overall.
The record of his basketball teams over the last decade might be a good place to start looking. So, take a look at his coaching record from each of his schools:
Perhaps Ford is just a “solid” coach. Maybe he’s nothing special. Look at the overall records at the four universities he has been at — they are eerily similar. And, it’s largely apples-to-apples in the regard that 3 of the 4 stints were for three years. In those three stops Ford won in the area of 60 games in three seasons and lost around 30 games during that time.
That’s good, but not great.
When Ford left Eastern Kentucky he was billed as the next hot coach from a small school. Massachusetts was his foray into the mid-to-high-majors. After largely living up to that hype by winning in his last 2 seasons in Amherst, that chatter only grew as he headed to Stillwater.
Ford has indeed had some big name recruits commit to OK State. They just haven’t panned out. At all. But he has continued to land blue chippers. And with T. Boone Pickens in Stillwater, Ford certainly has everything he needs to do his job. Thus, he should be landing high caliber talent in the Big 12.
He has been getting his teams to 20+ wins with some regularity. That’s more than decent. However, I’m starting to wonder if that’s all he has in him.
Seeing him land some of these top recruits in recent months was difficult to stomach as a Minuteman fan. At least initially. However, this year Massachusetts’ squad is on the rise, while Oklahoma State is putting out fires surrounding the hoops program left and right. Maybe Amherst is a better place without Travis Ford after all.
[H/T Goodman]Note: I refuse to put Gary Correia on the list of “Ford flops.”