July 26, 2013
PDT Sports Writer
Another twist in the legal case involving former Shawnee State head basketball coach Geno Ford came down Thursday as a Portage County judge ruled his current employers intentionally interfered with one of his former schools.
In a release sent to media outlets by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, the court upheld a motion by Kent State University for summary judgment against Bradley University, the school which Ford currently coaches its men’s basketball team. The ruling stated Bradley intentionally interfered with the contractual relationship between Ford and Kent State and brought upon the breach of contract without justification.
“We have a duty to protect our public colleges and universities from third-parties that try to undermine or interfere with their contracts,” DeWine said in the release. “When a university disregards those contracts and knowingly poaches another school’s coach, that university must be held accountable.”
Ford signed an initial five-year contract with Kent State in April 2008 for $200,000 a year. Two years later, the school gave him an extension through the 2014-2015 season and increased his annual salary by $100,000 to make him the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference.
But in March of the next year, Ford breached his contract and agreed to become head coach at Bradley. On April 26, 2011 Kent State sued Ford for breach of contract. Last week, the school won the case and were awarded $1.2 million. A Portage County jury will also determine how much in damages Kent State will receive from Bradley for the actions made by the school in the process.
Ford led Shawnee State to a 22-10 record in the 2001-02 season, his only year in Portsmouth. He also coached at Division III Muskingum in between his stops to Shawnee State and Kent State.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.