Nice Guys . . . Get to Finish
(St. Louis, MO) – Sometimes the best change is to make no change at all. Bradley administrators need to pause a minute before they pull the wrong trigger. I know Ford doesn’t rhyme with Krzyzewski, nor am I comparing Geno with Mike, but what if Duke had fired the legendary Blue Devils coach, where would the ACC power be today?
Few college basketball fans remember Krzyzewski (is that how you spell it?) was 10-17 in year two and, 11-17 in year three of his career in Durham, North Carolina. The hall-of-famer was being hung in effigy during those days, but university officials stood by their young coach because he cared about the right things and was graduating his players.
Geno Ford’s record as a head coach, other than at Bradley is .633 (119-69) but he has struggled mightily in Peoria (46-86). The question arises as to why the lack of success and can he take the Bradley program forward?
Those close to the program say the university must replace the President and the Athletic Director before they will even deal with Ford’s future. Why wait? It will be weeks before this is all accomplished, and valuable recruiting time will be lost and players you want to keep on the present roster will begin to waver in their allegiance. They should give Ford this year to right the ship and here’s why.
- Ford has the respect of those closest to Braves Basketball. As a decent and honest man, those in the know, believe he can run a respectable program that graduates student-athletes and he will outwork his opposition.
- To a man, the Missouri Valley Conference coaches see Ford as a worthy opponent in the strategy department.
- Recent recruits indicate he is making headway in Chicago and other key recruiting areas. Landing Josh Cunningham (Chicago public league) and Tramique Sutherland (junior college transfer) are legitimate MVC players brought in this year.
- He handled a terrible and controversial situation this year with care and respect, and strength. That situation could have been ugly and divided the team.
Can Ford turn the program around? We don’t know. Will fans buy tickets next year if he is still there? We don’t know. What we do know is that repeated changes at the helm lead to constant rebuilding and never establishing an identity.
[go to ‘Dave Snell on Voices of the Valley’ to watch our wifi impaired interview with the Bradley broadcaster] (had some connectivity problems, but you’ll hear Dave just fine!)
Cunningham and Sutherland marked the beginning of a change of the talent base that would be on display at Carver Arena. While the Board of Trustees is figuring out what to do at the presidential and athletic director level, they should allow the Ford’s program to take one more year of rooting.
What will Cunningham be like with one year of college level training under his belt? One full off season working out on the Hilltop will be invaluable to this high level talent.
Sometimes you look more at the man than at the short term results. Does Bradley want to win a press conference or build a program? The Missouri Valley Conference constantly teaches us that building family and continuity matters and breeds success. Bradley leaders should take notice and trust Geno for one more year.