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Bob Ford
Head Coach

The architect of the University at Albany football program, Bob Ford, established a legendary reputation with his positive attitude and a coaching philosophy that instilled loyalty among each member of his team and staff.

Ford served as UAlbany’s only head coach since the program was reinstated after a 46-year absence from 1970 to 2013. He was appointed on April 27, 1970 and coached his final game on November 23, 2013. In that time, he compiled a 12-9-1 record in three seasons at the club level and a 41-season varsity record of 256-170. Including nine wins from his time as St. Lawrence’s head coach, Ford’s 265 career victories ranked first among active NCAA Division I college football head coaches and fourth on the all-time FCS chart. In addition, his UAlbany teams owned a 98-69 mark as a Division I FCS program.

Announcing at the program’s media day on August 13th that he would retire at the end of the 2013 season, Ford (265-191-1) guided the Great Danes through UAlbany’s 41st varsity season, the program’s first year in the Colonial Athletic Association, and the first season at Bob Ford Field -- UAlbany’s brand new $19 million stadium. While the Danes finished the season with a 1-11 overall record and 0-8 mark in the CAA, Ford laid the groundwork for UAlbany’s future at the next level and began transitioning the team from 35 scholarships towards the FCS-max 63 scholarships. Under Ford’s watch, junior running back Omar Osbourne headlined the team’s postseason accolades, earning first team All-CAA honors. In addition, junior linebacker Christian Dorsey and senior defensive lineman Andrew Smith were named to the CAA’s third team. Twenty players also earned CAA All-Academic honors.

In 2012, the Great Danes closed a 14-season chapter as an associate member of the Northeast Conference, compiling a 78-24 record in the tenure. In their last season competing in the NEC, Ford piloted UAlbany to its sixth Northeast Conference title with a 9-2 overall record and 7-1 league mark. The Great Danes ranked as high as No. 18 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 20 in the Sports Network Top-25, and tied the program’s Division I record for wins in a season. In addition, nine Great Danes earned All-NEC honors, including six first-teamers. Senior Ryan Kirchner finished his career as UAlbany’s all-time leading receiver with 172 career catches, while tailback Drew Smith closed his career as the program’s all-time leading point scorer (270), touchdown scorer (45), and tied for most rushing touchdowns scored (40).

During the 2011 season, Coach Ford recorded his 250th career victory with a 38-10 win over Northeast Conference rival Duquesne, and was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth time. Ford led the program to its first NCAA FCS postseason appearance, its first NCAA appearance in football since 1977, taking on Stony Brook in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. The Great Danes earned a share of their fifth Northeast Conference championship with 31-21 victory over Sacred Heart, and reached the eight-win plateau for the fourth time as a NCAA Division I FCS program.  UAlbany placed eleven players on the 2011 All-Northeast Conference squad, led by defensive end Eddie Delaney, who was just the second UAlbany defensive lineman to be recognized on three occasions during a career.

The squad finished up the 2011 season ranked on two national polls, and was receiving votes in a third. The Great Danes were voted 23rd in the Football Championship Subdivision Coaches’ Poll, and 21st in the Any Given Saturday FCS Poll. UAlbany was also receiving votes in the Sports Network Media Poll.

The Great Danes, who went 6-5 overall in 2010, established a school record with their fifth consecutive winning campaign. UAlbany posted a 7-4 record and finished second in the Northeast Conference standings the previous season. UAlbany also defeated No. 20 Maine, 20-16, the first victory over a national top-20 opponent since 2006.

In 2008, The Great Danes put together their second consecutive championship season with a NEC crown and a victory over Jacksonville in the Gridrion Classic. Ford’s squad became the first NEC program to win the Gridiron postseason game. UAlbany finished with a 9-3 record, the most victories in a Division I FCS campaign. Ford, who was voted NEC coach of the year for the third time, led UAlbany to an undefeated league season for the second straight year. Tailback David McCarty, the school’s career rushing leader, and offensive tackle Raphael Nguti were both chosen as All-Americans.

UAlbany also won the NEC championship in 2007, when Ford was named the conference’s top coach. The Great Danes made their fifth postseason appearance in team history when they played Dayton for the FCS mid-major national title in the Gridiron Classic. UAlbany posted an 8-4 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark against league opposition.

Ford, who was honored at the 69th annual Maxwell Awards for recording his 200th career win at UAlbany on Nov. 5, 2005, has produced 12 All-America players and 140 all-conference selections at the FCS level. Nguti became the fourth Great Dane to be selected to the AFCA FCS All-America first team in 2008, joining J.T. Herfurth (2000), Geir Gudmundsen (2004) and Colin Disch (2006).

In 2003, UAlbany shared its second consecutive Northeast Conference crown by finishing in a tie for first place in the conference standings with a 7-4 overall mark. The Great Danes were fourth among the FCS Division I leaders in rushing, while tailback Gary Jones was named to the Associated Press All-America Team for the second time in his career.

The Great Danes put together one of their most celebrated seasons in 2002 by winning the program’s first-ever Northeast Conference title and capping the year with a 24-0 upset of previously unbeaten Duquesne in the ECAC Division I-AA Football Classic. Ford, who directed his team to an 8-4 record, was named the NEC Coach of the Year. UAlbany placed 14 players on the all-conference squad.

Ford, who has served as president of the American Football Coaches Association, marched UAlbany to a 7-2 record in its inaugural campaign as a Division I-AA program in 1999. The Great Danes garnered seven wins in 2001, and finished among the conference’s top teams for the third straight year.

As a Division II program, Ford led the Great Danes to their second consecutive Eastern Football Conference championship, an EFC Atlantic Division title, and a 10-1 record in 1998. He was named the conference’s coach of the year for the second straight season. Ford also received the Gordon White-Herschel Nissenson Division II Coach of the Year Award by the Metropolitan New York Football Writers Association.

Ford coached his 1997 team to a school-record 11-1 mark and an EFC championship. For his efforts, he was named the Football Gazette Division II non-scholarship national Coach of the Year, and voted the top Region I coach by GTE and the American Football Coaches Association.

At one time, Ford was the youngest head football coach in the nation, when the 26-year-old took over the reins at St. Lawrence University in 1965. In his first season, he guided the Saints to an Independent Collegiate Athletic Conference (ICAC) title. He arrived in the Capital Region five years later to start the first gridiron squad at the University since 1924.

After three seasons at the club level, the program was upgraded to varsity status in 1973, and finished with a 7-2 record. One year later, the Great Danes completed the school’s only undefeated season with a 9-0 mark.

Ford’s 1977 team earned a NCAA Division III playoff berth. After a season-opening loss, the Great Danes rebounded with nine consecutive victories. UAlbany defeated Hampden-Sydney in a thrilling 51-45 contest to begin the postseason before losing to eventual national champion Widener in the semifinals.

In 1978, Coach Ford’s mystique grew before a national audience on ABC television. His last-minute addition of a field goal kicker direct from the soccer team paid off in a victory over third-ranked Ithaca. Dario Arango kicked a 45-yard field goal in the last two minutes to provide a 9-6 victory.

In 1985, the Great Danes rallied from a three-touchdown deficit for a 33-21 victory over Plymouth State and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) North championship. The ‘85 team, which produced one of the greatest comebacks in Ford’s coaching career, boasted offensive and defensive units which were nationally ranked, and supported by five Pizza Hut and one Associated Press All-America players.

UAlbany’s football program is also known for the high standards required of its coaching staff. Ford’s “coaching factory” has allowed many of his assistants to earn their master’s degrees while working at the collegiate level. More than 100 coaches, who have started their careers under Ford’s tutelage, are currently employed with approximately 60 different high schools, colleges, and professional teams from around the nation and the world.

A starting quarterback in his senior year at Springfield College in Massachusetts, Ford was given the “Greatest Desire to Improve” Award by the school’s athletic department. He received an undergraduate degree in physical education from Springfield in 1959, and later would earn his doctorate from the College in the same discipline. He gained a master’s degree from St. Lawrence in educational administration in 1960.

Ford’s first coaching opportunity came as an assistant at St. Lawrence in the fall of 1959. He then moved to Albright College in Pennsylvania as an assistant for four seasons, where he coached the secondary and offensive backfield, and was part of a program that produced a 21-game winning streak.

At Albright College, Ford also coached the wrestling and golf teams. He returned to Springfield in 1964 as a secondary coach, and later was named defensive coordinator at his alma mater in 1969.

Beginning in 1977, Ford was UAlbany’s director of athletics for five years. During that time, he managed a program that sponsored 25 varsity sports for men and women.

A 1986 inductee into the Wachusett Regional High School Hall of Fame and a 2012 inductee into the Springfield College Hall of Fame, Ford is presently active in the National Football Foundation & Hall of Fame, and serves as vice president of the NFFCHF’s Capital District Chapter. He was honored by that organization in 2000 with its Service to Football Award.

Ford, 76, has been a member of the American Football Coaches Association’s Board of Trustees since 1994, and presently is serving on the AFCA’s Division I FCS All-America Team Selection Committee. Ford received the New York State Athletic Administrators Distinguished Service Award in 2005 and was honored with the Skip Paradon Award for 2013 by the New York State High School Football Coaches Association.

In August of 2010, Ford was recognized by the National Football Foundation Capital District Hall of Fame with its Service to Football Award. Ford was previously presented by the UAlbany Alumni Association with its Citizen of the University Award in 2007, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the University by a non-alumnus or alumna through leadership, service or a special gift.

Ford and his wife, Donna, reside in the Capital Region. He has a daughter, Sherri Lee, son-in-law, Kevin, and two grandchildren, Aiden and Kyra.

EDUCATION

▪ Wachusett Regional High School, Holden, Mass.

▪ Springfield College, B.S. in physical education, 1959

▪ St. Lawrence University, M.S. in educational admin, 1960

▪ Springfield College, Pe. D. in physical education, 1970

ATHLETICS

Wachusett Regional H.S.:  Football, Basketball, Baseball

Springfield:  Football

COACHING




1959

St. Lawrence Univ.

Runnings Backs, Secondary


1960

Albright College

Secondary, Offensive Backs


1961

Albright College

Secondary, Offensive Backs


1962

Albright College

Secondary, Offensive Backs


1963

Albright College

Secondary, Offensive Backs


1964

Springfield College

Secondary


1965

St. Lawrence University

Head Coach (4-4)


1966

St. Lawrence University

Head Coach (2-6)


1967

St. Lawrence University

Head Coach (1-6-1)


1968

St. Lawrence University

Head Coach (2-6)


1969

Springfield College

Defensive Coordinator


1970*

University at Albany

Head Coach (2-4)


1971*

University at Albany

Head Coach (4-4)


1972*

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-1-1)


1973

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-2)


1974

University at Albany

Head Coach (9-0)


1975

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-2)


1976

University at Albany

Head Coach (4-5)


1977

University at Albany

Head Coach (9-2)


1978

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-3)


1979

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-3)


1980

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-5)


1981

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-3)


1982

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-3)


1983

University at Albany

Head Coach (3-7)


1984

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-5)


1985

University at Albany

Head Coach (9-2)


1986

University at Albany

Head Coach (4-6)


1987

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-5)


1988

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-5)


1989

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-4)


1990

University at Albany

Head Coach (3-7)


1991

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-5)


1992

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-4)


1993

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-4)


1994

University at Albany

Head Coach (4-6)


1995

University at Albany

Head Coach (3-7)


1996

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-3)


1997

University at Albany

Head Coach (11-1)

(Eastern Football Conference Champion)

1998

University at Albany

Head Coach (10-1)

(Eastern Football Conference Champion)

1999

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-2)


2000

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-6)


2001

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-3)


2002

University at Albany

Head Coach (8-4)

(Northeast Conference Champion)

2003

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-4)

(Northeast Conference Co-Champion)

2004

University at Albany

Head Coach (4-7)


2005

University at Albany

Head Coach (5-6)


2006

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-4)


2007

University at Albany

Head Coach (8-4)

(Northeast Conference Champion)

2008

University at Albany

Head Coach (9-3)

(Northeast Conference Champion)

2009

University at Albany

Head Coach (7-4)


2010

University at Albany

Head Coach (6-5)


2011

University at Albany

Head Coach (8-4)

(Northeast Conference Co-Champion)

2012

University at Albany

Head Coach (9-2)

(Northeast Conference Co-Champion)

2013

University at Albany


Head Coach (1-11)

 *club teams





Position: Head Coach
Phone: (518) 442-3034
Email: rford@albany.edu