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Dana Ford says the team’s first-year performance was admirable during a “rebuilding period.” He’s interviewed by SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
Dana Ford says the team’s first-year performance was admirable during a “rebuilding period.” He’s interviewed by SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right.

MSU’s Dana Ford talks recruitment, fundraising

Posted online

Last edited 10:24 a.m., May 22, 2019

Dana Ford, head men’s basketball coach at Missouri State University, this morning discussed the recent season, recruitment and fundraising work.

Ford is fresh off his first year leading the Bears, which posted a 16-16 record, including 10 Missouri Valley Conference wins. He said for a first-year basketball program, fans typically can expect six or seven conference wins, so the team “overachieved this year” during a “rebuilding period.” Additionally, attendance was up about 600 people per game on average, he said.

“You don’t measure success by the numbers all the time,” said Ford, Springfield Business Journal’s guest this morning for the monthly 12 People You Need to Know live interview series. “It’s just a really hard conference to come into and win right away.”

In the offseason, Ford said he’s largely focused on fundraising efforts as his assistant coaches work with his recruitment blueprint.

“I’m trying to be the next Brent Dunn,” he said, laughing, as he referenced MSU’s vice president for university advancement. “I’m trying to raise some funds.”

Part of those efforts, he said, come from taking on speaking engagements. For example, he recently appeared on comedian Jeff Houghton’s late-night television show, “The Mystery Hour.”

Ford was unsure on the program’s exact fundraising target, but said the “number is in the millions, for sure.”

For recruitment, Ford said he takes a backseat as his assistant coaches work to bring on players who meet his standards. His job, after establishing the goals, is at the end, when players sign on to attend MSU.

“I delegate a lot,” he said, noting players should be coachable, competitive and have character. “We don’t want menaces.”

Further, Ford said his players should have ambitions higher than college basketball.

“I want to recruit guys who want to go to the NBA,” he said, noting that kind of work ethic leads to stronger leaders, wherever they land after school.


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