The Idaho men’s basketball staff has added two new members, as announced by head coach Don Verlin today. Joe Ford takes over as an assistant coach, while Zac Claus joins the program as the director of player development.
Ford joins the Vandals after spending the previous five seasons at the University of the Pacific, where he served the past two years as the assistant to the head men’s basketball coach.
While with the Tigers, Ford was in charge of the team travel and assisted the coaching staff with academic services. He also was in charge of all community outreach programs, including the Tigers Readers Watch Program, which was aimed at raising literacy rates at the elementary level in the San Joaquin Valley.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in education in 2010, he immediately joined the staff at Pacific as the coordinator of basketball operations prior to the 2010-11 season.
Ford is no stranger to the court, having played at Pacific from 2005-2010. After suffering what could have been a career-ending injury during the 2006-07 season, Ford bounced back stronger than ever and went on to earn Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior and a senior. He earned All-Big West Conference First Team honors his senior year and was a finalist for the 2009 V Foundation Comeback Award.
Ford has also completed his master’s degree, in educational leadership from Concordia University.
Claus joins the Vandals after spending a decade at the University of Nevada. During his time with Nevada, Claus was an integral part of the Wolf Pack’s success on the court. In Claus’ 10 seasons, Nevada won four WAC regular season championships (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012) and made six postseason appearances.
Claus spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Wolf Pack, helping in all areas of the program. Including recruiting, scouting and on the floor coaching, Claus was also in charge of scheduling and overseeing the program’s budget, team managers and equipment. He also coordinated the team’s academic progress, eligibility and served as the program’s liaison with NCAA Compliance.
Prior to taking over as an assistant, Claus served for six years as the director of basketball operations.
Claus spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Sacramento State prior to joining the Wolf Pack. Before that he spent two years at Portland State, with the first as director of basketball operations and the second as assistant coach.
Claus began his coaching career as the assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Nebraska Wesleyan during the 1998-99 season. He then worked as an assistant coach for Austin College for one season.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern Washington in 1998, where he finished his playing career. Claus played two seasons with the Eagles after beginning his collegiate career at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska.