SLU made the hiring of Travis Ford official yesterday, introducing him as the new head coach of the Saint Louis Billikens this afternoon.
Ford spent 12 days funemployed after being let go from Oklahoma State on March 18 after eight seasons with the program. He’ll leave a Cowboys teams coming off a 3-15 Big 12 conference finish and look to turn around a Billikens team that went just 5-13 this past season in Atlantic 10 play.
The Madisonville, Kentucky native led Oklahoma State to five NCAA tournament appearances but won just one tournament game, a two-point win over No.9 seed Tennessee during his first season with the program. Prior to coaching the Cowboys Ford spent three seasons at UMass, leaving the Minutemen to two NIT appearances and finishing within the top-three in conference play his final two seasons after an 8-8 A-10 finish his first season in Amherst.
“First and foremost, my family and I are excited to be a part of the Billiken program,” Ford said in an official SLU release. “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.
“St. Louis is a great sports city and my family and I are honored to become a part of it,” Ford continued. “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.”
WILL WADE RETURNING TO VCU
Will Wade found himself as the new hot VCU coach after a successful season that included a share of the Atlantic 10 title, a first round NCAA tournament win and a near-upset of 2-seed Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Several schools reportedly expressed interest in obtaining the services of the 33-year old including Vanderbilt, but the Nashville native passed on his hometown school and elected to remain the Rams’ head coach, getting an extension that takes his contract into the 2023-24 season as well as $750,000 to go toward his salary, his assistants salaries and other benefits toward VCU’s program such as added guarantee games for the Rams.
“I wasn’t going to look these kids in the eye after a year and say, ’I’m outta here,’” Wade said. “That was not on the table, not matter what the conjecture was. Some of these guys (it) would have been their third coach in three years.
“I tell guys all the time, the grass is always greener until you gotta mow it…
“Quite frankly, we’ve got a great program. I know other people don’t understand that outside. Look where we’re standing right now (in VCU’s new $25 million basketball development center). Not a lot of people have this stuff. When you get enhancements to the program that make it worthwhile in terms of continuing to compete at a high level”
MILLER SIGNS EXTENSION FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR
Archie Miller has become the new Shaka Smart and with that has heard his name attached to virtually every available opening at Power 5 conference schools since leading the Flyers to an Elite 8 appearance. Last week he signed an extension to take his contract into the 2022-23 season and a received a raise to go with it.
“I’ve said many times, I am thankful and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Dayton,” Miller said in a press release. “We can continue to do great things here. The University, the community, and our loyal fans have given our program the opportunity to compete with the best, and I look forward to pursuing consistent success and delivering first-class results both on and off the court for everyone associated with our program.”
The Flyers return almost all of their production from this season’s A-10 regular season co-champion team, losing only Dyshawn Pierre from the starting lineup but went 9-2 without him early in the season including wins over Vanderbilt, Alabama, Monmouth and Iowa.