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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

New Missouri State Coach Says Championships 'Must be our expectation'

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MSU Photo Services
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MSU Introduced Dana Ford as its new men's basketball coach on Thursday.

Missouri State University introduced its new head men's basketball coach in a press conference  Thursday. The university’s Board of Governors approved the hiring of head coach Dana Ford the day before.

Ford said there must be a change in mindset when it comes to the atmosphere surrounding Missouri State men’s basketball.

“When the word 'championship' is brought up, we’ve got to be about that. That’s got to be our expectation,” Ford said.

Ford spent the last four seasons at Tennessee State University where he helped turn around a struggling program. The Tigers went from a 5-26 record in Ford’s first year to 20-11 in his second year. Ford leaves Tennessee State with an overall record of 52-39.

Tennessee State’s average home attendance doubled during Ford’s tenure as well.

MSU President Clif Smart said it was obvious from the start of the head coaching search the school was going to choose someone who was a good basketball coach and a good person. Smart said when he originally met with Ford, the young coach talked about building relationships with his players.

“Making them better people, his one rule: do the next right thing,” Smart said. “Loving them, instilling discipline in them, and expecting them to be successful in life and on the court.”

Ford said going forward it would be a players first program and said players will be held accountable and unconditionally loved. Ford said the greatest form of love is discipline.

“After today it’s no longer about me, it’s about the players,” Ford said. “That’s the number one thing.”

Ford is no stranger to Missouri Valley Conference basketball, either. He graduated from Illinois State University in 2006 where he was a four-year letterman for the Redbirds. Ford had successful assistant coaching stints under head coach Greg Marshall at Winthrop and Wichita State and at his alma mater under head coach Dan Muller.