OKLAHOMA CITY -- Travis Ford has reached an agreement in principle to become the next coach of Oklahoma State's men's basketball program, as first reported by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com on Wednesday morning.
Travis Ford replaced Sean Sutton when the two were still playing college basketball. He'll do it again in the coaching profession.
Ford agreed Wednesday to leave his job as Massachusetts' coach to take over Sutton's old position at Oklahoma State. A news conference was planned in Stillwater on Thursday to formally introduce him.
In a twist of fate, Ford has been in a position to follow Sutton once before. After growing up in Kentucky, Ford ended up leaving the state to start his college career when the coach seemed headed toward playing his son at the point guard position.
Kentucky's coach at the time? Eddie Sutton. And his point guard? His son, Sean.
So Ford headed to Missouri for his first season, but then ended up transferring back home after Eddie Sutton ran into trouble with NCAA violations and alcoholism and was forced out at Kentucky.
Eddie Sutton ended up returning to his alma mater, Oklahoma State, and Sean transferred to join him before eventually joining his coaching staff. The two combined to take a downtrodden program to 13 NCAA tournaments in the next 16 seasons -- including Final Four appearances in 1995 and 2004 -- before the elder Sutton stepped aside following a drunk-driving accident in 2006.
|Travis Ford was 62-35 during his time at UMass. (Getty Images)|
As for who will succeed Ford at UMass, two names certain to be mentioned are former UMass players Tony Barbee (now the head coach at UTEP) and Derek Kellogg (now an assistant at Memphis). Louisville coach Rick Pitino, a former UMass player, will likely serve as a resource in some capacity, like he did last time. If so, expect him to push Louisville assistant Steve Masiello or Iona coach Kevin Willard, a former Pitino assistant.
Another potential candidate should be Pittsburgh assistant Tom Herrion, who is a native of Massachusetts. Herrion still has family in the area and possesses head coaching experience, specifically an 80-38 record at the College of Charleston from 2002-2006.
Sutton, who had been promised the chance to succeed his father at OSU, took over the Cowboys' program late in the 2005-06 and led the team to its first of three consecutive first-round exits in the NIT.
Upon announcing Sean Sutton's resignation April 1, athletic director Mike Holder called him a victim of the expectations set by his father.
Now, Ford will assume those expectations. The 38-year-old coach led UMass to a 25-11 record this season and an appearance in the NIT championship game, where it lost to Ohio State. He directed the Minutemen to a 62-35 mark in three seasons, including NIT bids the past two seasons.