WMU News

Ford succeeds Decker as baseball coach

June 14, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has hired Penn State assistant Randy Ford as the seventh head coach in the 94-year history of Bronco baseball.

Ford replaces Fred Decker, the winningest coach in school history with 791 wins over 29 seasons.

"We are really excited Randy has chosen Western Michigan to further his coaching career," said Kathy Beauregard, WMU athletic director. "We look forward to welcoming back his family to our community. He has 20 years of coaching experience including 16 years in the Big Ten."

Ford has spent the last 16 seasons at Penn State, serving as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. During his tenure, the Nittany Lions made the postseason seven times, advancing to the Super Regional in 2000. While at University Park, Ford helped PSU capture the 1996 Big Ten regular season championship and coached 48 players who were either drafted or signed by Major League Baseball teams. In addition to his baseball duties, he also served as a faculty member with the department of kinesiology.

The hiring of Ford marks the return of the Morenci, Mich., native to Western Michigan University. Ford spent four years as an assistant under Decker from 1985 to 1988. Ford began his association with the Broncos as a three-year letterwinner, 1977-79. A walk-on, left-handed pitcher, Ford compiled a career record of 17-4 and a 2.91 ERA. He earned All-Mid-American Conference First Team honors and all-district recognition as a junior in 1979, registering an 8-0 record and a 2.04 ERA.

In 1979, Ford was selected in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. During a four-year professional career, 1979-82, Ford advanced as high as Double A ball, earning team most-valuable-player honors with the Kingston Blue Jays of the Class A Carolina League in 1981. After his career was cut short by shoulder problems, Ford returned to WMU to complete a degree in physical education with minors in biology and coaching, graduating in 1985.

Media contact: Paula Haughn, 269 387-4138, paula.haughn@wmich.edu

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