You probably saw University President Joanne Glasser with her prized new acquisition, head basketball coach Geno Ford if you attended the last Late Night BU.
You probably would have seen that he doesn’t quite resemble an individual involved in basketball from a distance.
Yes, he does stand at six-feet but Ford has no Napoleon complex and instead a full acceptance of himself as an individual.
“I was brought here to be who I am,” Ford said.
His confidence is apparent to anyone who walks his way, which is necessary for someone who wants to lead young men.
This confidence stems from being part of a family that has been coaching basketball his whole life. His uncle coached college basketball at the NAIA level and his father coached at multiple levels including high school.
“When I was six and got out of kindergarten at 3 [p.m.], I’d walk across the street to the high school practice, which started at 3:15,” Ford said. “I’ve been to more practices than any 36-year-old in America.”
It’s not hard to see how he got the basketball pedigree.
“We’d go on road trips with the high school team and our whole family would be on the bus,” he said.
Another interesting trait of Ford’s is his humor. His self-demeaning comedic styling showcases a man comfortable and confident, no matter the situation.
He now finds himself the savior to Bradley fans and something less positive to Kent State fans, the school he left to come coach on the Hilltop.
“I wasn’t dying to get out the door at Kent, and I don’t think they particularly wanted me to leave,” Ford said.
Despite obstacles, Ford has high expectations for the Braves next season.
“Two things I’d love to be known for is to be at the top of the league in scoring and keep opponents’ field-goal percentage low,” Ford said.
While those two ideas don’t seem to go hand in hand, Ford’s idea is accomplishable.
Duke wouldn’t be where they are without Mike Krzyzewski, just like Butler wouldn’t be who they are without Brad Stevens.
Ford is who Bradley wants their program to be. Small in outward appearance, yes, but large in confidence and execution. Ford knows this, but yet again, he’s comfortable with it.
“I know expectations will be high. I know there will be pressure to be successful,” he said. “If there wasn’t that pressure, it wouldn’t be a great job.”
Though games at Carver Arena and life on campus may be a good distance geographically, Ford is very aware of what it’s like not only to shape someone on the court, but off the court.
If we’ve learned anything from ex-head coach Jim Les’s shortened stay at Bradley, it is that success on the court is what determines how well a coach has done at Bradley, though.
Ford seems fine with that, and shows his usual level of comfort walking the fine line between coaching on court and leading off it.
“The mistake you can make in coaching is that you can get so caught up in just trying to win the next game, you can miss out on what’s really going on,” he said.