In his 15th year with the Baylor coaching staff and ninth as associate track coach, former Bear standout Michael Ford works primarily with the sprints, short hurdles and relays.
Ford has mentored multiple All-Americans in over a decade coaching at his alma mater, most recently 100-meter national champion Trayvon Bromell and five-time All-American hurdler Tiffani McReynolds.
Prior to his latest pupils, Ford guided Tiffany Townsend to the most All-America honors in program history. During her career, Townsend racked up a BU record 17 All-America honors. Ford has also been named the Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year on two occasions (2005, '06) as well as the South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year twice (2009, '14) by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Last season, Ford's sprint crew was highlighted by Bromell's phenomenal freshman season. Ford guided the first-year standout to the 100-meter title at the NCAA Championships in a World Junior record time of 9.97. Bromell went on to win the USA Junior Championships title and place second at the World Junior Championships. Under Ford, Bromell burst on to the scene by clocking a wind-legal, co-World Junior record of 10.01 in the 100 meters to win the Texas Relays and then a wind-aided 9.77 which is third-best in NCAA history regardless of wind to win the Big 12 title. Besides Bromell, Ford helped senior Everett Walker back from injury to earn outdoor All-America honors with a fifth-place showing in the 200 meters. Ford's hurdler, Bryce Grace, advanced to the NCAA Championships as well, establishing a personal-best of 13.64 in 2014. Both Walker, 200 meters, and Grace, 110-meter hurdles, were second at the Big 12 meet. Overall for the year, Ford had athletes earn nine All-American honors and six Big 12 titles.
On the women's side, Ford helped Tiffani McReynolds close out her illustrious indoor career with a second-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2014 NCAA Championships in a school-record time of 7.93. McReynolds became the first BU athlete, male or female, to earn All-America honors in the same individual event at the indoor national meet for four straight years. McReynolds had earlier in the year become the first Baylor athlete, male or female, to win the same event at the conference indoor meet in four straight seasons as she took the 60-meter hurdle title in 8.10. She was only the second Big 12 athlete to accomplish the feat. McReynolds went on to capture the Big 12 Outdoor 100-meter hurdle title and was fourth at the NCAA Outdoor meet for another All-America honor. Ford helped Ashley Fields develop into an All-American as the sophomore was seventh in the outdoor 200-meter event. In the relays Ford's pupils really shined. The 4x100-meter men's team of Alex Reece, Blake Heriot, Walker and Bromell won the Big 12 title for the first time since 2010. Meanwhile, the 4x400-meter crews both won Big 12 titles and the men's squad of Heriot, TJ Holmes, Drew Seale and George Caddick grabbed All-America honors by taking seventh at the outdoor national meet. For his accomplishments, Ford was recognized as the South Central Regional Men's Assistant Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
In 2013, Ford coached 10 All-American performances and eight Big 12 champions. Indoors, McReynolds notched her third straight Big 12 title in the 60-meter hurdles, while Blake Heriot won the 200-meters, Joe Barb took the 600-yard crown and the 4x400-meter team of Isaiah Duke, Walker, Drew Seale and Richard Gary claimed the top spot at the conference meet. McReynolds and BU's 4x4 team went on to earn All-America honors at the national meet under Ford's guidance. In the outdoor season, Christina Holland claimed the 400-meter hurdle title at the Big 12 Championships and went on to earn All-America honors at the distance as well. Meanwhile, BU's 4x400-meter relay team claimed sixth outdoors to garner All-America accolades.
In 2012, nine All-American honors were earned under Ford's watch as McReynolds finished fourth in 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships and the 4x400 team of Zwede Hewitt, Justin Allen, Seale and Blake Heriot took seventh. At the national outdoor meet, the sprint-relay team of Walker, Whitney Prevost, Woodrow Randall and Heriot took fifth. Ford also helped Walker establish a new school-record in the 100-meters with a time of 10.12 at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. McReynolds also earned her second straight Big 12 Indoor title in the 60-meter hurdles.
Ford's 2011 sprint crew used a mix of newcomers and veterans to earn 16 All-America honors, including three men's relays (4x100, indoor and outdoor 4x400) and national 60-meter hurdle runner-up freshman McReynolds. Along with the All-America honors indoors, McReynolds also claimed Big 12 high-hurdle titles indoors and outdoors. Another newcomer, Randall, became a key member to Baylor's 4x100-meter relay, while also earning indoor 60-meter All-America honors with a fourth-place finish and tying Michael Johnson's 100-meter BUâ€^record of 10.13. Tiffany Townsend earned All-America accolades under Ford's watch with a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 200-meters and a sixth-place finish in the 60-meters, while setting school records in both events with times 22.90 and 7.23, respectively. Townsend was also third in the 200-meters (22.58) and eighth (11.09) in the 100-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, while setting school records in both.
Despite battling through injuries to key relay members in 2010, Ford's sprints crew remained deep enough to earn 14 All-America awards and 27 All-Big 12 honors, including the Big 12 champion men's 4x100-meter relay and the All-American women's 4x100-meter relay. Townsend also earned All-America honors individually in the 100 and 200 meters and won the 200 and 4x100-meter relay at the NACAC Under 23 Championships.
In addition to his full-time duties for Baylor, Ford was also selected to coach the men's sprints, hurdles and relays for the 2010 USA Junior World Team. His teams won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships in the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. His 4x100 team ran the third-fastest time ever by a junior team.
In 2009, the Baylor 4x400-meter men's team put together one of the most impressive streaks in collegiate track and field history. The Bears took a streak of wins and national titles that began in 2007 to the finals of the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The 4x400 relay took the NCAA indoor crown, then continued a streak of 42 straight wins until a third-place finish at the outdoor championships. Along with the indoor relay crown, Harts also posted an impressive performance winning the 200-meter national title.
In 2008, the Bears captured two more national titles, winning the men's indoor and outdoor 4x400-meter relays for the second-straight year. The Bears' time of 3:00.22 at the NCAA Championships ranked as the second-fastest in Baylor history, and the fifth-fastest collegiate time ever. Baylor claimed the indoor and outdoor titles in the same season for the fifth time in school history and only the 11th time ever. Baylor again made history at the Drake Relays as the men's and women's teams combined for a record seven relay titles at the meet. The women claimed four relay titles, the most ever for a women's team, moved into first place in all-time relay titles at Drake.
The Bears had solid showings at the national meets as all four relays earned All-America honors outdoors. In addition, Harts and Townsend earned All-America honors in the indoor and outdoor 200 meters.
Townsend set a new school record in the 200 meters, clocking 22.75 at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. In addition, the women's sprint relay set a new school mark, running 43.60 at the outdoor conference meet. v During the summer, Townsend won the USA Junior Championship in the 200 meters, and later anchored the United States to a gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay at the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships.
Also in 2008, Ford began his tenure coaching Jeremy Wariner, as well as other Olympians Darold Williamson, Reggie Witherspoon and Sanjay Ayre. Under Ford's leadership, Wariner claimed the silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and won a gold medal as the anchor leg on the 4x400-meter relay. Witherspoon also won a gold medal, running the third leg in the preliminaries of the 4x400-meter relay.
During the 2007 season, the Baylor men's 4x400-meter relay won the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles, the fourth time in Baylor history and just the 10th time in collegiate history that feat has been accomplished. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the 4x400-meter relay set a new Baylor record of 3:00.04, breaking the 12-year-old school record that Ford helped set as the leadoff leg. Ford coached Witherspoon to Big 12 indoor titles in the 200 meter and 400 meters for the second straight season. Witherspoon also captured the Big 12 title in the outdoor 200 meters, and was named High Point Performer for both conference championships. Also, the Bears claimed the Big 12 title in the men's 4x100-meter relay for the second straight year, the first time Baylor history to win back-to-back conference championships in the sprint relay. Witherspoon and Harts also earned All-America honors in the indoor 200 meters. Baylor made history at the Drake Relays, winning all four sprint relays (4x100-meter, 4x200-meter, 4x400-meter, and sprint medley), to become the first school to accomplish the feat in 63 years.
During 2007, Ford coached former Baylor All-American Williamson to the bronze medal at the USATF Indoor Championships. Williamson won gold as a member of the United States 4x400-meter relay team at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Ford also coaches Ayre, who won gold in the 400 meters at the Jamaica National Championships.
In 2006, freshman Jacob Norman captured the NCAA indoor title in the 60 meters with a school-record time of 6.56. Norman also anchored the men's 4x100-meter relay to its first Big 12 title in the event since 2000. Both the men's and women's 4x400-meter relays swept the indoor and outdoor conference titles. Jerome Miller was the national runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles with a school record time of 7.66 and Witherspoon was an All-American in the indoor 200 meters.
In 2005, Ford guided the 4x100-meter relay to a school record and helped Elizabeth Wilson pull a stunning upset by winning the Big 12 indoor 200-meter title and set a new school record at 23.53. Carla Grace was one of the top freshmen in the Big 12 Conference, earning All-America honors on the Bears' indoor 4x400-meter relay and earning all-region and all-conference accolades in both the 100 and 200 meters. The 2005 edition of the men's 4x400-meter relay of Kevin Mutai, Mark Teter, Wil Fitts and Williamson earned All-America honors both indoors and outdoors, finishing second at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Ford was heavily involved with the success of the 2004 men's 4x400-meter relay squads. The indoor team of Jamen Saziru, Teter, Wariner and Williamson set a new NCAA record with a time of 3:03.96 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, then Braelon Davis and Fitts joined Wariner and Williamson to claim the title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 3:01.03. Wariner, the Olympic gold-medalist in the 400 meters, and Williamson went on to run the third and anchor legs, respectively on the United States gold-medal 4x400-meter relay team.
Ford was instrumental in the development of All-American sprinter LaKadron Ivery, who holds three school records and finished second in the 100 and 200 meters and the long jump, while running on the Bears' 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays at the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
In 2004, Ivery won gold in the 200 meters competing for the United States at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Under-23 Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada.
Ford spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Rochester, working with sprinters and 400-meter hurdlers under the direction of head coaches Tim Hale (1998) and Richard Mackenzie (1999-2000). In 1998, Ford helped guide the Yellow Jackets to indoor-outdoor Associate of American Universities titles. The AAU is a 61-member organization of the leading public and private research and graduate institutions in the nation. Rochester established eight school records in sprints and relays while Ford was a member of the coaching staff.
Like his fellow assistant coaches, Ford enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Baylor. The 1997 graduate was a two-time 4x400-meter relay national champion, running the first leg for both the 1995 team and the 1996 team. Both of those teams also won conference titles.
During his time at Baylor, Ford collected six relay All-America honors. In 1996, the 4x400 team finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships, after finishing first at the Southwest Conference Championships.
During his time at Baylor, Ford was considered the nation's best 4x400 leadoff leg. In 1995, he sparked the Bears national title relay team to a school-record time of 3:00.60 -- then the fifth-fastest outdoor time in NCAA history -- during the preliminaries of the NCAA Championship meet. In that race, Ford ran a 45.51-second split. He also turned in second-place finishes in the 400 meters at the 1993 Southwest Conference Indoor Championships and at the 1995 SWC Outdoor Championships.
Ford's relay success reached beyond his Baylor experience. In 1995, he was a member of the bronze-medal East 4x400 team at the U.S. Olympic Festival. While in high school, he won the 400 meters at the American Amateur Union Junior Olympics in record time. Ford also added New York State and Eastern States championship titles in the quarter-mile to his resume.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Ford was inducted into the Section V Track & Field Hall of Fame in May 2003. While in high school, he won the 400 meters at the American Amateur Union Junior Olympics in record time. Ford also added New York State and Eastern States championship titles in the quarter-mile to his resume.