Thursday, February 2, 2012

UAlbany Celebrates Bob Ford Day

The University at Albany coach is the active Division I leader in coaching victories with 255 and is heading into his 40th season coaching the Great Danes. Just last season, he led UAlbany to its first Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearance.

On Thursday, Mayor Jerry Jennings proclaimed Feb. 2, 2012 as Bob Ford Day, in the city of Albany.

“I’m humbled by the whole process,” Ford said.

Even Jennings, a UAlbany grad himself, admitted that this was a honor long overdue. After Ford spoke, he was met with a standing ovation from a huge crowd in the Hall of Fame room, on campus.

“Bob Ford is as good a coach as there has ever been in the college game — any sport — because of the way that his young people respond to him and the way that he conducts himself with his colleagues and the way he conducts himself in high education,” said UAlbany Director of Athletics Lee McElroy.

Ford was asked what he would do on his day and anyone who knows him wouldn’t be surprised by his answer.

“We’ll probably go up and wrap up the recruiting,” Ford said.

Ford’s address teetered on sounding like a retirement speech, but he was quick to dismiss that thought.

“I just think you have to start reflecting as you get older, what will you miss, what are the things that you’ll miss tremendously,” he said. “I’ll miss the kids and having my batteries recharged on a daily basis.”

Ford mentioned a few special moments, including a victory over current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, at Delaware. He also mentioned how special the players have been, speaking about one the team’s current players, Eddie Delaney, who has overcome diabetes and being born with one hand, to become an all-conference defensive end.

“For him to say that I’ve impacted his life means more than anything,” Delaney said.

Ford, who is having a hip replacement in two weeks, says he just wants to stay healthy and keep winning. Coaching has been a big enough reward for Ford, so things like Thursday’s event are just gravy.

“I’m fortunate that I get to work with young kids at a very critical time in their lives and you have a chance to mold them,” he said. “I know part of my life was molded by good high school and college coaches.”

A recent study by the University showed that more than 100 former assistants of Ford are working at the high school, college or professional ranks.

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