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Sunday, March 6, 2005
Ford took Colonels to NCAA tourney

By Andy Katz

UMass is expected to name Eastern Kentucky coach Travis Ford as the new Minutemen basketball coach Thursday.

This season, the 35-year-old Ford led Eastern Kentucky to a school-record 22 wins and its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1979. The Colonels lost to second-seeded Kentucky in the first round of the Austin Regional in Indianapolis.

Ford began his playing career at Missouri in 1989,and finished it playing for UMass alum Rick Pitino at Kentucky in 1994.

Ford would replace Steve Lappas who was fired earlier this month.

UMass also talked to Kent State's Jim Christian, Manhattan's Bobby Gonzalez, Memphis assistant Tony Barbee and former Notre Dame and North Carolina coach Matt Doherty.

Ford was on the school's Amherst campus on Wednesday with his wife, who was visiting the area before he signs the contract.