Dana Ford
Head Coach
(615) 963-5905
Dana Ford


  • 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year
  • 2016 NABC District 19 Coach of the Year
  • 2016 Ben Jobe Award Winner - Nation's Top Division I Minority Coach
  • 2016 BOXTOROW Coach of the Year

In his first three years leading the Tennessee State University men’s basketball team, Dana Ford has transformed the Tigers from a team at the bottom of the Ohio Valley Conference standings to a contender in the league with back-to-back winning seasons. The 2017-18 season will mark Ford's fourth as TSU's Head Coach. 

Ford has led the Tigers through one of the most successful two-year runs in their Division I history, going a combined 37-24 in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The 37 wins are tied for the third most in TSU’s D1 history for a two-year span.

The program received national attention under Ford’s leadership by receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 in back-to-back weeks after beginning the 2016-17 season with a 6-0 record – the program’s best start in the Division I era.

Ford, who was the youngest permanent head coach in the nation during his first three seasons, carries a career record of 42-50 into his fourth year in 2017-18.

After posting a 5-26 record in his first year in 2014-15, Ford orchestrated one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history with a 20-11 record in 2015-16, culminating with a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

Ford’s efforts did not go unnoticed as he earned OVC Coach of the Year, NABC District 19 Coach of the Year, BOXTOROW Coach of the Year and the Ben Jobe Award, given to the nation’s top Division I minority coach for the 2015-16 season.

In the summer of 2016, Ford signed a contract extension with Tennessee State through the 2020-21 season. In his first season after the extension, Ford delivered another winning season with a 17-13 record in 2016-17.

Ford helped develop point guard Tahjere McCall into the OVC’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year with two consecutive First Team All-OVC honors, while guiding Keron DeShields (1st Team) and Wayne Martin (2nd Team) to All-OVC accolades. McCall, DeShields and Martin were all honored by the NABC as well as BoxToRow under Ford.

The success of the program in Ford’s first three years has rejuvenated the fan base. Attendance at home games has risen year-to-year, going from 12th in the OVC with 1,337 per game in 2014-15 to third in the league at 2,627 fans per game in 2016-17.

Tennessee State introduced Ford as its 17th men’s basketball head coach at a press conference on April 21, 2014. It is Ford’s second stint at TSU after serving as an assistant under former TSU coach John Cooper for two seasons from 2009-2011.

As an assistant for TSU, Ford was instrumental in recruiting talented classes for the Tigers including players who went on to have professional careers in Robert Covington, Patrick Miller and Kellen Thornton. 

After his success with the Tigers, Ford became an assistant at Wichita State in 2011-12, helping head coach Gregg Marshall guide an NCAA Tournament team to a final Associated Press ranking of No. 18. The Shockers were 27-6 overall and claimed the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship.

Ford then joined the coaching staff at his alma mater, Illinois State, for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, where he assisted in the Redbirds’ 36-31 mark that included an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) semifinals. He was ISU’s recruiting coordinator and managed players’ academic progress along with his coaching duties.

Before his first stint at TSU, Ford served as an assistant coach at Chipola Junior College (Fla.). While there, he helped lead Chipola to an impressive 35-2 overall record, its sixth-consecutive Panhandle Conference Championship with a 12-0 record, its fifth FCCAA State Championship in 10 years and a third-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.

Prior to Chipola, Ford served two years as a graduate assistant under Marshall at Wichita State and Winthrop. While at Winthrop, the Eagles captured their first NCAA Tournament win, defeating Notre Dame and finishing the season ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press and USA Today Top-25 polls.

Ford graduated from Illinois State in 2006, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in politics and government, following a four-year playing career with the Redbirds. While at ISU, he was a four-year letterwinner from 2002-06 and was voted the squad’s Defensive Player of the Year after being ranked in the Missouri Valley Conference top 10 in both steals and blocks.

Ford is a native of Tamms, Ill., and is a member of the NABC and BCA. He is married to Christina Ford and the couple has two sons Carson and Cameron and a daughter named Charlie Rose.

4th Season in 2017-18
Alma Mater: Illinois State ’06
Hometown: Tamms, Ill.

2014-15 5-26 2-14  
2015-16 20-11 11-5 CIT, OVC Coach of the Year, NABC District 19 Coach of the Year, Ben Jobe Award
2016-17 17-13 8-8 Back-to-Back Winning Seasons
TOTAL 42-50 21-27