Danny Ford: Wikis

  
  

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Danny Lee Ford born December 19, 1947 is a former American football coach, who most notably led Clemson University as its head coach to its 1981 national football championship.

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Early career

After graduating from Gadsden High School in Gadsden, Alabama in 1966, Ford was an All-SEC selection on the field and off the field under Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama, where he played in three bowl games. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial arts in 1970 and later received a master's degree in special education in Tuscaloosa in 1971. He coached as an assistant at Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Clemson prior to being named the head coach at Clemson. It is a shame he has yet to be induced in the Clemson Ring of Honor.

Career at Clemson

Ford had an auspicious beginning to his head coaching career, following the departure of the Tigers' previous coach, Charley Pell to the University of Florida. After nine years as an assistant coach, he debuted with a 17-15 win over Ohio State in the 1978 Gator Bowl. The 30 year-old coach, youngest in Division I at the time, also defeated a college football legend in a contest that truly put Clemson football on the map, as he beat Woody Hayes in the latter's last game.

"When Coach Ford was named coach at Clemson, there were mixed emotions," recalls Jeff Davis, a Clemson Ring of Honor member. "It was obvious that he had so many things to offer. And what he lacked he made up for in working harder than anyone else and communicating his expectations to the players. He blossomed as well as any coach could."

He compiled a 96-29-4 (.760) record at Clemson, including a 6-2 bowl record. He was the third winningest coach in the country on a percentage basis after the '89 season. Ford also coached 21 All-Americans and 41 players who went on to play in the NFL, during his 11 seasons at Clemson.

In 1981, Ford helped Clemson reach the summit of college football by winning the National Championship, the first by any Clemson team. His Tigers, who were unranked in the preseason, downed three top-10 teams during the course of the 12-0 season that concluded with a 22-15 victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Ford, national Coach of the Year in '81, is still the youngest coach to win a national championship on the gridiron. He also led Clemson to a 30-2-2 record between 1981-1983, best in the nation. Immediately following the 1982 season Clemson was placed on probation by the NCAA for recruiting violations, however, since no active players were involved in the allegations, Clemson was not asked to forfeit any games and the National Championship is recognized by the NCAA.

Clemson won three straight ACC titles under his guidance between 1986 and 1988. In 1989, Clemson registered a 10-2 season and top-12 national ranking for the fourth straight season. Ford, who always wore a block "C" cap and chewed tobacco on the sideline, closed his career with a 27-7 win over West Virginia (and their All-America quarterback Major Harris) in the Gator Bowl. In the decade of the 1980s, Clemson had the nation's fifth-highest winning percentage.

While at Clemson, Ford defeated many College Football Hall of Fame coaches. These include Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley, and Woody Hayes.

After Clemson

Ford resigned on January 18, 1990, after a falling out with Clemson administration. He was subsequently cleared in an NCAA investigation that also was announced around that time. Though there is contention among those who attended Clemson at that time as to whether that was the true reason for his forced resignation.

Joe Kines brought Ford to the University of Arkansas in 1992 to help with the clean-up following Frank Broyles' firing Jack Crowe (Danny's former offensive coordinator at Clemson) after a loss to The Citadel. Ford took Kines job in 1993, leading Arkansas to an SEC West championship in 1995 on the legs of Madre Hill and the defensive genius of Joe Lee Dunn, after emerging from 2 years under Crowe. Broyles fired Ford following back-to-back 4-7 campaigns. Ford finished 26-30-1 in five seasons with the Razorbacks, but left the cupboard full for successor Houston Nutt, who coached the Hogs to 9-3 and 8-4 seasons in 1998 and 1999.

Ford and his wife, Deborah, have four children, Jennifer, Ashleigh, Elizabeth, and Lee. They currently reside in the Clemson, SC area.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Clemson Tigers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1978–1989)
1978 Clemson 1-0 W 17-15 Gator Bowl 7 6
1979 Clemson 8-4 4-2 T-2nd L 18-24 Peach Bowl
1980 Clemson 6-5 2-4 T-4th
1981 Clemson 12-0 6-0 1st W 22-15 Orange Bowl 1 1
1982 Clemson 9-1-1 6-0 1st 8
1983 Clemson 9-1-1 7-0 1st 11
1984 Clemson 7-4 5-2 2nd
1985 Clemson 6-6 4-3 4th L 13-20 Independence Bowl
1986 Clemson 8-2-2 5-1-1 1st W 27-21 Gator Bowl 19 17
1987 Clemson 10-2 6-1 1st W 35-10 Citrus Bowl 10 12
1988 Clemson 10-2 6-1 1st W 13-6 Citrus Bowl 8 9
1989 Clemson 10-2 5-2 3rd W 27-7 Gator Bowl 11 12
Clemson: 96-29-4 56-16-1
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (1993–1997)
1993 Arkansas 6-4-1 5-2-1 3rd (West)
1994 Arkansas 4-7 2-6 T-4th (West)
1995 Arkansas 8-5 6-2 1st (West) L 10-20 Carquest Bowl
1996 Arkansas 4-7 2-6 T-5th (West)
1997 Arkansas 4-7 2-6 T-5th (West)
Arkansas: 26-30-1 15-25-1
Total: 122-59-5 (.669)
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

External links

Preceded by
Charley Pell
Clemson Tigers Head Coach
1979–1989
Succeeded by
Ken Hatfield
Preceded by
Vince Dooley
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award
1981
Succeeded by
Joe Paterno
Preceded by
Joe Kines (interim)
University of Arkansas Head Football Coach
1993–1997
Succeeded by
Houston Nutt







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