By Matt Davis | Sports Writer
Over the summer, Mack Rhoades, Baylor University vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics promoted Michael Ford to head coach of the Baylor men’s Track & Field program making him just the fourth head coach of the team in the modern era.
“We are thrilled to announce Coach Michael Ford as the next head coach of our legendary track and field program,” Rhoades said in his announcement. “Mike has distinguished himself as an outstanding coach and leader for more than two decades at Baylor, while also boasting an impressive resume as a Baylor letterwinner and All-American track student-athlete. He brings to the role a unique and personal connection to the Baylor experience, a track record of success at the highest levels and a deep commitment to our vision of Preparing Champions for Life.”
Ford, a former Baylor star himself, ran the fifth-fastest outdoor time in NCAA history in 1995. He also became a member of the bronze medalist 4x400m relay team at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
The Bears former head coach Todd Harbour retired this summer after spending 16 years at the helm, producing 28 National Champions, 257 All-Americans and 214 conference champions. Michael Ford, who has been part of the staff for over 20 years, gets his opportunity to continue the winning tradition at Baylor.
“It was a huge honor,” Ford said. “I mean I was definitely grateful to Mack Rhoades, Marcus Sedberry and Dawn Rogers for entrusting this team with me and just looking forward to the upcoming season for our student-athletes.”
As both an assistant and an associate head coach, Ford mentored great Baylor sprinters such as Olympian Trayvon Bromell and 17-time All-American sprinter Tiffany Townsend as well as helped keep the Baylor tradition of “Quarter Mile U” alive.
Junior distance runner Alec Atteberry is looking forward to coach Ford’s leadership in this upcoming season.
“It’s been kind of an interesting transition. We’re still kind of rolling with it. We’re getting used to everything, kind of seeing how stuff is going to go. Switching over from Harbour to coach Ford, I’ve been super pleased with coach Ford so far,” Atteberry said. “We’re only talking about a month but, we have already had a couple talks and you know with the whole transition with coach Barnett as well. He’s been really helpful just kind of working our team into things then making sure were set to go for the season.”
One of Ford’s first decisions as head coach was the hire of David Barnett. Barnett, now the head coach of the cross-country program, comes from Auburn University. He coached three NCAA medalists and one NCAA champion.
“I’m looking forward to David leading our cross country and distance program here at Baylor,” Ford said in his announcement. “He has done a great job developing student-athletes at the conference and national level, and I’m looking forward to having him on our staff.”
Coach Ford and the rest of his team look to embrace the change and gear up for this upcoming season starting in January.