Baylor Track & Field: Ford Appointed as Program’s Head Coach

Michael Ford
Michael Ford(Baylor)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Michael Ford has been promoted to become Baylor track & field’s head coach, Baylor Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to announce Coach Michael Ford as the next head coach of our legendary track and field program,” Rhoades said. “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 has served 21 seasons on the Baylor staff, with the first 17 years as assistant coach and the last four years as associate head coach. A former six-time All-American as a sprinter for the Bears, Ford worked primarily with sprints, short hurdles and relays. The Rochester, N.Y., native served as head coach for USA Track & Field teams in 2019 at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, and the inaugural USA vs. Europe Match in Minsk, Belarus.

“First of all, I would like to thank God for guiding me through this process,” Ford said. “Secondly, I would like to thank Mack Rhoades, Marcus Sedberry, Dawn Rogers and the rest of the hiring committee for believing in me to lead our Track & Field program. I will forever be grateful for the friendship and support of Coach Todd Harbour.  Also, thank you for all of the encouraging words from Baylor alumni, coaches across the country, and former and current student-athletes. I am looking forward to this journey with my staff and student-athletes to make Baylor Track & Field one of the best programs in the nation.”

Ford has mentored multiple All-Americans in his more than two decades coaching at his alma mater, most recently Ackera Nugent in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4x100-meter relay squad of Kavia Francis, Arria Minor, Sydney Washington and Mariah Ayers at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. At the 2021 indoor championships, he guided Nugent to the national championship in the 60-meter hurdles and Francis, Minor, Miller and Lily Williams to All-America honors in the 4x400-meter relay.

“We extend heartfelt congratulations to Coach Ford on being named head coach of our prestigious track & field program,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D, said. “I appreciate the work of AD Mack Rhoades and his team to ensure we continue our commitment to an elite track and field program with a coach who aligns with Baylor’s distinctive Christian mission. We know Coach Ford, his staff, and our student-athletes will be great ambassadors for the University in competition, in the classroom and throughout the Waco community.”

Ford has mentored several high-profile Baylor student-athletes, including two-time NCAA champion and 2016/2020 Olympian Trayvon Bromell, 17-time All-American sprinter Tiffany Townsend, five-time All-American hurdler Tiffani McReynolds, and eight-time Big 12 Champion Kiana Horton.

Ford has been named the Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year on two occasions (2005, ’06), as well as the South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year twice (2009, ’14) by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

In January 2008, Ford took over coaching duties for former Baylor All-American and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner, as well as Olympians Darold Williamson, Reggie Witherspoon and Sanjay Ayre. Under Ford’s leadership, Wariner claimed the silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and won a gold medal as the anchor leg on the 4x400-meter relay. Witherspoon also won a gold medal, running the third leg in the preliminaries of the 4x400-meter relay.

Ford coached Williamson to the bronze medal at the 2007 USATF Indoor Championships, and Williamson won gold as a member of the United States 4x400-meter relay team at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Ford also coached Ayre to the gold medal in the 400 meters at the Jamaica National Championships.

As a Baylor student-athlete, Ford collected six relay All-America honors while earning a marketing degree in 1997. In 1996, the 4x400-meter relay team finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships, after finishing first at the Southwest Conference Championships.Baylor won back-to-back national championships in the 4x400 relay in 1995 and ’96 with Ford as the leadoff leg. Considered the nation’s best 4x400-meter relay leadoff leg, he clocked a 45.51-second split to spark the Bears’ 1995 national title-winning relay team to a school record time of 3:00.60, then the fifth-fastest outdoor time in NCAA history, during the preliminaries of the NCAA Championship meet.

In 1995, he was a member of the bronze medal East 4x400-meter relay team at the U.S. Olympic Festival. Ford was inducted into the Section V Track & Field Hall of Fame in May 2003.

Ford follows Todd Harbour (2005-21), Clyde Hart (1963-2005) and Jack Patterson (1956-63) as the fourth Baylor track & field head coach in the modern era.

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