Prep Cross Country Father-Son coach duo to step down after years of service.
After 33 tremendous seasons at the helm for the Jesuits, Fairfield Prep science teacher Bob Ford Jr. and his father Bob Ford Sr. have decided to retire as head and assistant cross country coaches.Under their leadership, the Fords led the cross country team to 3 CIAC Class LL State Championships (2011, 1998 and 1997) and a runner up finish in 1996. The cross country team also won the State Open in 2011 and 1997 and were runner-up in 1998. Ford Jr. was the CIAC Outstanding Coach of the Year for Cross Country in 2000.
The Ford team helped establish the Jesuits as one of the premier cross country teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference, with meet championships in 2013, 1998, 1997 and a runner up finish in 1996. The Jesuits won SCC divisional championships in 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2003, 1998, 1996 and 1995. In 2013 Ford Jr. was named SCC Coach of the Year.
Over the decades, the Fords helped develop numerous all-league, all-state, and collegiate runners, as well as coach “Connecticut Gatorade Runners of the Year” Drew Thompson (2017) and Connor Rog (2010, 2011). Thompson and Rog also qualified for the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships under the Fords’ leadership, along with Christian Alvarado (2012 and 2013) and Brian McGovern (1999 and 2000). In 2014, Bob Ford Jr. and Bob Ford Sr. were named National Coaches of the Year by Footlocker. Fairfield Prep runners have made 7 appearances at the Footlocker Nationals, the most for any school in the country.
The Fords have been instrumental in building a strong roster each season by developing unofficial freshman and junior varsity teams within the cross country program and giving them a chance to develop into varsity runners as they build up skill and endurance. Likewise, they built a strong schedule each season with yearly participation in the prestigious Thetford Invitational meet in Vermont and the Jesuit Cross Country Championships in Van Cortlandt Park, New York.
In addition to serving as Cross Country coaches, both Fords coached indoor and outdoor track. Ford Jr. was the head coach of Prep Outdoor Track from 1988 to 2005 and also served as the Indoor Head Track Coach from 1995- 2005. Ford Jr. was awarded CIAC Outstanding Coach of the Year for Track and Field in 2005. After retiring from Track that year he continued to help his dad who became the assistant Track coach for distance runners.
Ford Sr. served as head coach of Indoor Track for 2 years in 2006 & 2007. In 2008, he was awarded CT Assistant Coach of the Year. Ford Sr. helped coach 2012 Olympian Javelin thrower Craig Kinsley ‘07 in the State Decathlon Championship to become the only Prep medal winner in that event. Additionally, he helped train elite runners Rog, Alvarado, and Thompson, to first place finishes at the Indoor and Outdoor Track CIAC State Championships, State Open and New England. All three runners set school records highlighted by Alvarado’s National Track Mile Championship in 2013.
Bob Ford Jr. started teaching Science at Fairfield Prep in 1977 and began coaching the Jesuit Cross Country team in 1986 and Track in 1987. His dad, Bob Ford, Sr. joined him in 1989 after retiring from General Electric. Both Fords have also worked as adjunct faculty for Fairfield University - Bob Jr. in Biology, Ecology, and Physics, and Ford, Sr. in Finance. Neither of the Fords had any coaching experience before coaching at Prep, but both were long time distance runners and endurance athletes with numerous marathons and other competitions to their credit.
Collectively the Fords have coached over 120 seasons with Cross Country and Track. 27 individuals earned all-state honors in Cross Country. Most notable in their list of achievements is the network of supportive alumni who regularly keep in touch and attend the annual running alumni reunion at the Pequot Thanksgiving Day Race every year. Both Fords intend to help the transition to the next era of Prep running with support of the new coaches. They look forward to seeing Prep running continue down the path of success.
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