Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron has named Geno Ford as the 12th head coach of the Stony Brook men’s basketball program.
Ford will have his interim tag removed after serving eight days as the team’s head coach following the departure of Jeff Boals to Ohio University.
“My primary focus during this search was to identify the coach who can help us win an America East championship and reach the NCAA Tournament right now,” Heilbron said. “I believe in the young men in our locker room, and it became crystal clear throughout this process that Geno was the right coach to lead them moving forward.”
The Seawolves are coming off a 24-7 regular season, the most regular-season wins in the program’s history, and featured two major award winners in the America East this season: redshirt-sophomore Andrew Garcia (Harlem, N.Y.) was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year and sophomore Jeff Otchere (Bronx, N.Y.) was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year.
These were also three all-conference designations that included First Team All-Conference member Akwasi Yeboah (Chigwell, England).
“I am very honored and humbled for the opportunity to be the head coach at Stony Brook University,” Ford said. “I want to thank President Stanley and our Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron for allowing me the chance to continue with a great group of high-character players. I also want to thank Jeff Boals for bringing me to Long Island three years ago and allowing me to be part of his vision to build a high quality basketball program.”
The Cambridge, Ohio native becomes the head man after three years as the Associate Head Coach under Boals, helping lead Stony Brook’s offense to one of its most prolific outputs in Division I history with 71.6 points per game. That number was only bettered by the 2015-16 conference championship team.
“Ford’s dedication to this program has been instrumental to its success, so I’m thrilled that he will be the next head men’s basketball coach at Stony Brook,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “His rapport with our student athletes and his experience and success as a Division I head coach and as a student-athlete at Ohio University make him eminently qualified to lead this program. Our student-athletes had an amazing season, on and off the court. This is a terrific group of young men and we look forward to an exciting new era under the leadership of Coach Ford.”
Under Ford’s associate head coach tenure, Stony Brook finished inside the top two in the standings in two of his three seasons with two America East semifinal berths also during that time.
“Geno has enjoyed success as a head coach and he understands what it takes to win,” Heilbron added. “While our program is poised to win in the short term, this decision was ultimately about the long term success that we are striving to achieve at Stony Brook. I have had the opportunity to work with Geno for the past three years and have witnessed his ability to connect with our players and bring out the very best in them. The trajectory of our program is limitless, and I am confident that Geno will help lead us to new heights.” He also brings a wealth of head coaching experience with two stops coming before this. He took over at Kent State in 2008, helping lead the Golden Flashes to a 68-37 record in his three years just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. This included a 35-13 mark in the Mid-American Conference and a pair of MAC regular-season championships, becoming the first MAC coach in 48 years to win back to back regular-season crowns.
He parlayed that into a job in the Missouri Valley Conference with Bradley, guiding the program to the nation’s seventh-best turnaround in his second season, leading the team from a 7-25 mark to 18-17 the following year. He also coached the second MVC player ever to record 500 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 70 steals in a season in Walt Lemon, Jr.
The Ohio University graduate sits sixth in school history with 1,752 career points after averaging 18.9 and 18.7 per night in his junior and senior seasons, respectively. He was also First-Team All-MAC and Academic All-Conference selection as a senior in 1997.
Ford will be the program’s fourth coach in the Division I era, following Boals, Steve Pikiell and Nick Macarchuk.