4/10- John McCutcheon and Travis Ford Annouce Ford Staying at UMass
AMHERST, Mass. -
Prior to the men's basketball team banquet on Thursday night, UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon and head men's basketball coach Travis Ford announced that Ford will remain with the Minutemen. Ford was interviewed by Providence College on Wednesday, but has decided to stay in Amherst.
The Minutemen are coming off a 25-11 season and were finalist in the NIT Championship. In three years at UMass, Ford is 62-35 (.639) leading UMass to two NIT appearances (2007, 2008) and an Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Co-Championship (2007).
"As all of you know, we've gone through the last couple of days with a great deal of anticipation," said McCutcheon. "We would like everyone to know that Travis Ford, our head men's basketball coach, will be with us for many years to come. Obviously this has been a tremendous year for the basketball program advancing to the NIT Championship. We have made great strides here over the last couple of years and we look forward to making many more. We could not be more excited about the future in front of us."
"Probably the number one thing that kept me here was the showing in New York from our fans. No question it made a difference," said Ford. "I took my time in making the decision and I have no doubt this is the right one. This is the right place for me. I'm very excited; I'm going to give the team a week off and then we are right back to it."
Below are Coach Ford's quotes from when he took questions from the media on Thursday night.
Coach Ford on why he chose to stay at UMass
From all the emails I've gotten in the last 24 hours, it's unbelievable. It was a tough decision. Anytime you have options to look at great places, but it was easy once I came down to making the decision because of all the reasons I wanted to be here.
On what advice Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan gave
They gave great advice. One thing they didn't do was push me one way or the other. These are two guys that obviously know the area very, very well. Obviously Coach Pitino knows this situation very well. So they gave me great insight but also great advice outside of Providence or UMass. These are two guys that have been sought after on a lot of jobs and understand how hard it is because when it comes to making a decision like this, I'm making it for a lot of people. A lot of people are affected. That's why I took my time and wanted to make the right decision and I don't think there's any question. I want to say that Providence was an impressive situation. The more I saw it, it was an impressive situation, but this is the right place for me.
On who gave him advice
A lot of people, obviously Coach Pitino, Billy (Donovan). I called a lot of people and John McCutcheon and Tim Kenney had a big influence on this. Huge. It was amazing how they handled it. They are one of the big reasons I'm definitely and 100 percent committed to UMass.
On his team
I like this basketball team coming back. I like the future. I like what's happening in recruiting. I like this team. I think there are a lot of `if's' about this team, but I think it's going to be exciting. I think the potential is incredible, but that's a big word for this basketball team. I've been with Chris Lowe and Luke Bonner and all these guys for a long time. That played a role in it. I wanted to be able to coach those guys. I'm very excited. We'll give these guys about a week off and we're going to get started again.
On the other offers
A lot of stuff was going on about LSU. They contacted me and I talked to them and quickly realized it wasn't the right situation. There were some things I just wasn't comfortable with. The Providence thing, they contacted me and I talked to them. It was a great conversation. I learned some things that I didn't know about the program that I didn't know about the program from the outside that were impressive. I wasn't really interested in at first. I wasn't in a team that was near the bottom of the Big East, but once you got into it and realized some of the things going on there, it was impressive, very impressive. But, it didn't fit the things that I find here.
On if he spoke to his team during the process
I didn't talk to them. I didn't know what to say to them. I didn't want to lead them in the wrong direction. I didn't want to feed them a bunch of stuff they didn't want to hear. I wanted to able to, when I talked to them, be able to give them the final `This is what I'm doing, this is it.' We addressed it earlier in the year when there were comments about other jobs. I told them that I'll never talk to anyone during the season. I don't do that. What comes with success are things like this. The reason I had opportunities at other school is because of these players and this administration and the support they have given me. That's why these things come up.
On how the process affected him
For me, it was exciting to me. I think we have good things going on here. I think we have awoken a lot of people and there is some business left to do here, definitely.
What's important first to me is my family. That's the number one thing for me, to make sure they are happy where they are at. If it's another opportunity, are they going to be happy there, you never know. I do know that my family loves it here. That was a for sure. That was an absolute positive. Next thing I like at is who I'm going to work for. I always said I can work as hard as I work for 24 hours a day, but if you don't have the support of the administration, an administration that gets it, that understands it, then none of that matters. I can't say I wouldn't have gotten that there. I was very impressed, but I know I've got that here. I know I've got that. I'm not taking a chance on that. Then, I love winning. I love to win. What's the best opportunity for me to win and be successful? I think we've proven that we can win here and I'm hoping that the support we got in New York carries over to next year. I'm hoping for that tremendously. I'm taking great faith in that. I'm taking great faith that that is going to happen because our style of play is not going to change. We're going to have great players back next year. It's going to be fun and exciting. We have a great schedule at home, so I am putting great faith in our fans that they are going to support this basketball team, continue to love UMass basketball, and to the hundreds of people that emailed me, I'm going to hold them to everything they said.
On goals for the future
We're always looking to improve. I thought we had a great year. Winning 25 games was great, but obviously we want to make it to the NCAA Tournament. That's our goal, and go on from there. I think there is improvement. I think things are going great. I think we've had two great years and this one was exceptional. I really do. I think it was an exceptional year.