Former University of Virginia men’s basketball manager and William & Mary director of basketball operations Luke Ford has joined the Longwood men’s basketball staff as director of recruiting and program development, head coach Griff Aldrich announced Friday.
Ford comes to Longwood after spending the past five seasons on head coach Tony Shaver’s staff at William & Mary where he managed a wide area of responsibility for a program that posted a 90-67 overall record and a 54-36 Colonial Athletic Association record during his tenure.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Luke onto our staff,” Aldrich said. “His work ethic and player-first approach will have an immediate and positive impact on our players and program. His diverse skillset and experience will significantly expand our capabilities, and we look forward to his bringing those talents to Farmville.”
With the Tribe, Ford was charged with overseeing the program’s overall quality control along with travel, tech support, marketing, camps, business operations and compliance, as well as oversight of numerous major facility projects and recruiting materials. He also earned coaching experience in the 2018 offseason, taking on assistant coach responsibilities following a 2017-18 season in which William & Mary went 19-12 overall and 11-7 in the CAA.
Ford’s time at William & Mary came under Shaver, the former Hampden-Sydney head coach who mentored Aldrich both as a player from 1993-96 and a coach during the 1999-2000 season.
“Luke is one of the best young men and hardest workers that has ever been a part of our staff,” said Shaver, whose coaching resume spans more than 40 years and includes more than 500 wins at the collegiate level. “He is bright, creative and takes great initiative. He makes life easy for everyone else and takes great pride in serving others.
“I have never worked with anyone that is more invested in others. Luke is a very special young man with a bright future.”
Ford brings a versatile skillset to Longwood’s program with an emphasis on technology and data-driven analysis of in-game and practice performance. In his young career, he has used those skills to develop metrics to gauge effectiveness of specific player combinations on the court, boost RPI rankings through scheduling strategies, and real-time in-game analytics.
A 2014 graduate of the University of Virginia, Ford began his college basketball career in one of the most successful and well-respected programs in the nation as a student manager with Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers. In three years on that managerial staff, Ford helped Virginia make one of the most dramatic climbs in the nation, going from a 22-10 record and a fourth-place ACC finish in 2011-12 to a 30-7 mark, an ACC Championship and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen run in 2013-14.
Ford served as the Cavaliers’ head manager during his senior year, aiding the program in recruiting, practice operations and film breakdown. He received his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Virginia in 2014, and then went on to serve as director of men’s basketball operations at UMBC in 2014, where two years later Aldrich and head coach Ryan Odom would begin the resurrection of that program.
A former team captain at Albemarle High School in Albemarle, Va., Ford tailored his coursework at Virginia to suit his coaching aspirations, undertaking studies in statistical analysis, psychology in sports and exercise, leadership, and management and accounting, as well as undertaking an independent study in basketball analytics.
Now Ford will take his latest step forward at Longwood, joining a Lancer program coming off a breakthrough 2018-19 season under Aldrich that included the second-most wins of the program’s Division I era, a berth to the 2019 Roman College Basketball Invitational, the program’s first Division I postseason win, and a nine-win improvement that was among the best turnarounds in all of college basketball last year.
“I am thankful to Michelle Meadows and Griff Aldrich for inviting me to join the Longwood and Farmville communities,” said Ford, a native of Albemarle, Va.
“With the amount of buzz in the coaching profession about Longwood’s success this past season, it is certainly an exciting time to be joining the program. Coach Aldrich’s unique background and the success he has seen across multiple industries makes him a perfect mentor as I look to continue to grow personally and professionally. I’m looking forward to working hard to innovate the college basketball industry with him and the rest of the staff.”
Longwood’s roster for the 2019-20 season includes returning starters and rising seniors Shabooty Phillips, JaShaun Smith and Jaylon Wilson, who combined to produce 45 percent of Longwood’s total scoring and finished the year as Longwood’s top scorers.