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 Coach Travis Ford
Online Chat With UMass Coach Travis Ford!

Men's basketball coach Travis Ford chatted with UMass fans on April 5th. Read his responses below.

Ford has emerged as one of the brightest, energetic and personable coaches in the nation. A decorated player at the University of Kentucky, Ford earned numerous accolades as the Wildcats' point guard from 1991-94. As a head coach, he led NAIA school Campbellsville University to a 67-31 record from 1997-2000 leading the Tigers to a National Tournament appearance in his final season.

At Eastern Kentucky, Ford guided the Colonels to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in more than 25 years as well as their first winning season (22-9 in 2004-05) in 11 years. Ford was riding a seven-game winning steak -- Eastern Kentucky's longest such streak in 40 years -- prior to losing to his alma mater, Kentucky, in the 2005 NCAA First Round, 72-64.

Coach Ford: Thanks for joining us for the first-ever live chat on umassathletics.com. It's great to be here to take your questions. I am thrilled to be a part of the UMass family. Fire away with your questions.

Jason (Middleton, MA): Coach Ford, now that you have had the opportunity to see some video and talk with the returning players what do you think the strengths and weaknesses of the team are and how do you plan to address those weaknesses?
Coach Ford: Jason, I think one the biggest weakness I have heard about last year's team has been the inconsistency from night in and night out. We are hoping that we create an environment in practices every day to where we play at our best ever night. Another concerm that must be addressed is the outside shooting. We are going to have to spend a lot of time working on our perimeter shooting and also address it our shooting. Thanks

Philosopher (Houston): What is your approach to out of conference scheduling as you think in terms of returning the program to national prominence? Best to you always.
Coach Ford: Already on our sxchedule next year are games at Connecticut, at Boston College, at Florida State and home games against Gonzaga and Miami. So as you can see the non-conference schedule is going to be strong with more teams to added. I think it is important to have a good balance in your non conference schedule to help you prepare for your conference play. You want to go into conference play having been tested against great competition, but also go into conference with great confidence as well.

Dan S. (Bellmore): Travis,you have had a few JUCO players on your EKU team, do you expect to still recruit from JUCO or are you looking more for kids out of high school?
Coach Ford: The junior college ranks are an area we are not going to spend an extensive amount of time on. If we see a need for a position to be filled right away than that's always an option.

Matt, Amherst: It has been great to see you doing interviews both locally and nationally to get the word out on UMass basketball's new beginning. What plans do you have to energize the student body, whose attendence has been extremely poor over the past several years?
Coach Ford: I want to become very active with the student body. I want to get them to know me on a personal level as I want to know them on a personal level. I want to be involved and I want the student body to know this basketball team personally. I want to get involved with fraternities and sororities. I want them to feel that this is their team and that they are connected to this team in more ways than just being a fan. I want them to be connected to the UMass basketball tradition. I will always make myself avaiable to the student body by anyway you would like me to be. I am open to suggestions for what we all can do to get the Mullins Center packed with the best student body crowd in America. I want the games to be an exciting event for the students where they are looking forward to the next night out. We are open to suggestions!

Bruce (Whately, MA): Welcome Aboard, Coach! Can you discuss the point guard situation?
Coach Ford: Obviously there is a strong need to sign a very good point guard one that could come in and play right away. We are actively on the recruiting trail right now on some of the best point guards in America.

Tony Gramsci, Sugar Hill: Coach, last season 2 A10 teams made it two the Elite 8, yet we hear from naysayers that what UMass accomplished during the 1990s can't be done again. How high do you thing the program can go?
Coach Ford: I believe without question the UMass program has to get back to the national scene. It will take a lot of hard work from the staff and players and a filled Mullins Center to do it. The A-10 is a league that is going to be very strong for the next couple of years. There is a lot of young talent. Looking at the rosters from this past season, there are many young and talented players. I look for the A-10 to get many teams in the NCAA's in the coming years.

Mike (Philadelphia): Given the returning talent level, do you think that a post-season bid is a reasonable expectation for next season? While the goal is always to make the post-season, is that expectation reasonable?
Coach Ford: As you stated our goal is always to make postseason play. I think we have a very good nucleus in place. We must find a poitn guard, improve our perimeter shooting. We always want to set goals to achieve, but are keeping goals in mind. But there is always a transition stage from one coaching system to the next. We are anxious to see how our players can adapt to our system and that will obviously determine how much success we can have immediately.

Jim Plasse Belchertown: What style of offense do you prefer to run and what type of players do you need to run it successfully?
Coach Ford: Jim, We are looking to play an aggressive style of basketball. This means an up-tesmpo style of basketball which allows that players to use their talents and abilities. It is important that I put the players in positiion to maximize their strengths and limit their weaknesses. Defensively, We want to be aggressive and we want to be prepared. We will have several different defenses that we will use throughout a game whether pressing or haflcourt. The common demonanator will be that they are all aggressive.

Brad (New Orleans): Will Maurince Maxwell see some time at the point next season, regardless of who you are able to recruit?
Coach Ford: We will see. I am looking forward to starting individual workouts today. Although I watched a lot of film on the team it is more important to work with them and watch them individually to see their strengths and weaknesses.

Mitch Buchanan (Venice): There's been some confusing over how many scholarships are available. Is it 3 or 4?
Coach Ford: There are three scholarships available right now.

Larry (Springfield): Speaking of the players, how have you and the players hit it off?
Coach Ford: We had our first team meeting last night where I presented to the team where I presented my philosophy and expectations of UMass basketball on and off the court. It was about a two hour meeting with the players we had a chance to get to know each other during this meeting. I told them a lot about myself and then allowed them to tell me about themselves. I believe we all came out of the meeting excited and enthusiastic about the future of UMass basketball. Then we got together as a team and watched the championship game together.

Deke (Marlborough, MA): Hi Coach! After a couple weeks on the job so far, what has been the biggest surprise? Something about player talent or personalities? The town of Amherst? Campus? Fans or alumni? Anything stand out in particular that you didn't know when you accepted the job?
Coach Ford: I have been overwhelmed by all the support my family and I have received since we have been in Amherst. I have always known of the great tradition of UMass basketball. But it has even been intensified now that I am in the area. Since I got here I have seen the love for the game of basketball and I look forward to spreading this excitement from coast-to-coast and to getting the best student-athlete to become a part of the great UMass basketball tradition. My family and I are appreciative of being involved in being a part of our University and community and look forward to the challenges ahead.
Coach Ford: Thank you so much for participating in this chat. It has been great to interact with all of you and I hope to meet you in the future and then have you out at the games when we pack the Mullins Center. Thank you and Go UMass!


UMass Athletics Chat

 
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