Alongside the Ford family and entire basketball community, Cambridge Athletics mourns the loss of one of its own with today’s passing of Gene Ford.
As colorful and well-known as he was successful, Ford compiled a 440-262 record in 31 years as a high school boys’ basketball coach. He coached one year at Shenandoah and five at Tuscarawas Valley before making his mark during 25 years at Cambridge High (1980-2005) where he won 400 games and lost 183.
Ford’s Cambridge teams compiled a 59-25 record in tournament play, winning 18 sectional titles, eight district crowns and five regional championships leading to five state tournament appearances (1987-88, 1991-92,1994-95, 1995-96 and 1999-2000), including a runner-up finish in 1994-95. His teams also won 10 East Central Ohio League titles.
He received “Coach of the Year” honors in the OVAC, Eastern District, District 12 and ECOL and was the OHSBCA Division II State “Coach of the Year” in 1988. Ford served as president of the District 12 Coaches Association, as a trustee for the OHSAA Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the Ohio High School Basketball Hall of Fame Museum. The recipient of the OVAC Earl Haberfield Coaches Award in 2005, he was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007. Fittingly, his last induction was into the Cambridge Athletic Hall of Fame in October of 2018.
As an athlete, he earned 11 varsity letters (four in baseball, four in track, three in basketball) at Midvale and Indian Valley North. He scored 1,310 career points and earned first team all-Ohio, all-Eastern District and all-Inter Valley Conference accolades in basketball and was a state qualifier in the pole vault in track. He was a four-year letterman at Muskingum College in basketball, scoring 1,717 points (second most in school history) while earning all-Ohio Athletic Conference “Athlete of the Year” honors and UPI “Small America” accolades. He was a charter member of the Muskingum Athletic Hall of Fame.
Former player, alum and new athletic director Aaron Quinn reflected on Coach Ford. “Coach’s legacy will always be the lives he impacted during his career. The hundreds of players who he made feel a part of something special left a powerful and lasting impact on many of us”. Quinn added, “ We weren’t just his players, we were his guys. It was and continues to be a strong brotherhood”.
There will be a celebration of life in honor of Coach Ford on Saturday, July 6th from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon in the Cambridge High School Gymnasium. The high school is located at 1401 Deerpath Drive Cambridge. All are welcome, with a special invitation to former players. Cambridge Athletics is encouraging all in attendance to wear Bobcat blue in honor of Coach’s legacy.