Former Muskingum men's basketball coach and All-American student-athlete Gene Ford '74 passed away on Friday at the age of 67.
Gene coached for 25 years at Cambridge High School where he compiled a record of 400-183 (.687) and led his teams to 18 sectional titles, eight district crowns, and five regional titles, leading to five state tournament appearances. The 1994-95 team finished as the Ohio Division II state runner-up. His teams also won or shared 10 East Central Ohio League championships. Before Cambridge, Gene coached one year at Shenandoah High School and five at Tuscarawas Valley High School.
His illustrious coaching career concluded at Muskingum where he was the head coach of the men's basketball program from 2007-2015. During his time on the Muskie sideline, Gene coached several 1,000-point scorers and led the Muskies to the OAC Tournament Final Four. His squads consistently were atop of the Ohio Athletic Conference in assists per game, fewest turnovers per game, best turnover/assist ratio, scoring defense, free throw shooting percentage, three-point field goal shooting percentage and rebounding defense. Before taking over the helm of the Muskie program, Gene served two years as an assistant coach on his son Geno Ford's staff at Muskingum.
As a standout student-athlete at Muskingum, the Black & Magenta graduate was a four-year basketball letterman and still ranks second all-time in scoring with 1,717 career points. He was an All-American honoree and a three-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection. Gene was named the Mike Gregory OAC Player of the Year as a senior.
Gene was a charter member of Muskingum's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980 and was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. He was enshrined into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2009. Gene was named OHSBCA Division II Coach of the Year in 1988 and also won Coach of the Year honors in the Eastern District, OVAC, ECOL and District 12. He received the OVAC's Earl Haberfield Coaches Award in 2006. Gene served as president of the District 12 Basketball Coaches Association, as a trustee for the Ohio High School Athletic Association Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Museum.
Gene received his master's degree in health and human services in 1988 from Ohio University and has three sons, Geno (head men's basketball coach at Stony Brook University), Dustin (associate head men's basketball coach at the University of Akron) and Ryan (owner of Ford Tire & Service).
A celebration of life honoring Gene Ford will take place at Cambridge High School starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 6.