ST. LOUIS – Travis Ford is the new men's head basketball coach at Saint Louis University.
SLU Director of Athletics Chris May announced the hiring Wednesday night. Ford, 46, will be introduced at a press conference at Chaifetz Arena on Thursday.
The new Billikens coach will embark on his 20th season as a head coach in the fall.
“We are thrilled to welcome Travis and his family into the program,” May said. “Our vision for Billiken basketball is to be nationally competitive, and Travis shares in that vision. He has had success everywhere he has coached. Travis is an accomplished recruiter and program-builder and is highly respected throughout college basketball. We are excited about the future of our program with Travis as our head men’s basketball coach.”
“Our university strategic plan recognizes that our athletic programs increase SLU’s national visibility and institutional pride,” SLU President Fred P. Pestello said. “I am convinced that Coach Ford will bring the energy, experience, recruitment skills and coaching acumen needed to position our men’s basketball program among the best in the country. He is also a person who will engage our community, advance our mission and build our brand.”
Ford said, "First and foremost, my family and I are excited to be a part of the Billiken program. I look forward to working with Chris May and Dr. Pestello in making this one of the top programs in America. We are going to deliver a brand of basketball that is fun, exciting, aggressive and up-tempo – one that recruits will love playing and fans will love watching.”
He added, "St. Louis is a great sports city and my family and I are honored to become a part of it. We have a great setting to recruit to with a wonderful city, beautiful campus, terrific school and a first-class facility. I can’t wait to engage with the student body and the fans as we work together to build a brand that everyone will be excited about.”
In 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Ford has a 345-257 record. He has had head-coaching stints at Oklahoma State (eight years, 2008-16), Massachusetts (three years, 2005-08), Eastern Kentucky (five years, 2000-05) and Campbellsville University. Ford has led his team to the NCAA Tournament six times. He has coached six players who have gone on to play in the NBA and five who have been named conference player of the year.
Most recently, Ford spent eight seasons as head coach at Oklahoma State University and led the Cowboys to a 155-111 record and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including three in the last four years. He recruited three McDonald’s All-Americans to Stillwater during his tenure.
Ford is familiar with the Atlantic 10 Conference, having spent three years as head coach at the University of Massachusetts. He led the Minutemen to a pair of 20-win seasons in 2006-07 (A-10 regular-season co-champions, NIT second round) and 2007-08 (NIT finalist). UMass defeated Syracuse and Florida in the 2008 NIT quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Over the span of five seasons at Eastern Kentucky, Ford engineered a turnaround that saw the Colonels post 22 victories his final year after they registered seven in each of his first two seasons. In 2004-05, EKU won the Ohio Valley Conference title to give the program its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 26 years.
Ford began his first foray into coaching in 1997 with a three-year stint at Campbellsville University, an NAIA school in Kentucky.
Ford played the majority of his collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, helping the Wildcats to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his three seasons (1992, 1993, 1994). He was a junior on the 1993 Wildcat team that advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Ford transferred to Kentucky after one season (1989-90) at the University of Missouri.
He is a native of Madisonville, Ky. Ford and his wife, Heather, have three children: Brooks, Kyleigh and Shane. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Kentucky in 1994.