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Danny Ford

Danny Ford
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1947-12-19) December 19, 1947
Gadsden, Alabama
Playing career
1967–1969 Alabama
Position(s) Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1973 Alabama (OL)
1974–1976 Virginia Tech (OL)
1977–1978 Clemson (OL)
1978–1989 Clemson
1993–1997 Arkansas
Head coaching record
Overall 122–59–5
Bowls 6–3
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1981)
5 ACC (1981–1982, 1986–1988)
1 SEC Western Division (1995)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1981)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1981)
ACC Coach of the Year (1981)

Danny Lee Ford (born December 19, 1947) is a former American football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Alabama from 1967 to 1969. He served as the head football coach at Clemson University in South Carolina from 1978 to 1989 and at the University of Arkansas from 1993 to 1997, compiling a career record of 122–59–5. During his 12 seasons as head coach of the Clemson Tigers, he captured five Atlantic Coast Conference titles and won six bowl games. Ford's 1981 Clemson team completed a 12–0 season with a win in the Orange Bowl and was named the consensus national champion.

Early career

After graduating from Gadsden High School in Gadsden, Alabama in 1966, Ford was an All-SEC selection under Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama, where he played in three bowl games. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial arts in 1970 and a master's degree in special education in 1971 from Alabama. Ford coached as an assistant at Alabama and Virginia Tech before joining Charley Pell's staff at Clemson.


Pell left for the University of Florida after the end of the 1978 season, and Ford was named his successor. He led the Tigers in the 1978 Gator Bowl, defeating Ohio State, 17–15. That game is more remembered, however, for an incident in which Buckeye coach Woody Hayes punched Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman. Hayes was fired the next day.

In 1981, Ford led Clemson to a 12–0 record and the national championship—the first national title in the school's 98-year history. They won the title by defeating North Carolina. (All three of these teams remained ranked in the top 10 at the end of the season in the final poll.) As of the 2010 season, Ford is still the youngest coach to win a national championship. He had turned 34 two months before the Orange Bowl. Just days after the 1982 season ended, however, the Tigers were found guilty of recruiting violations. While most of them occurred under Pell, the NCAA found they had continued under Ford. The Tigers were barred from bowl games in 1982 and 1983, and kicked off live television in 1983 and 1984.

Ford didn't take long to recover from the probation, and won three straight ACC titles from 1986 and 1988. In 1989, Clemson registered a 10–2 season and top-12 national ranking for the fourth straight season. Ford closed his career with a 27–7 win over West Virginia (and their All-America quarterback Major Harris) in the Gator Bowl. In the decade of the 1980s, Clemson had the nation's fifth-highest winning percentage.

While at Clemson, Ford defeated a number of coaches later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, including Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley, Don Nehlen, and Woody Hayes.

Ford resigned on January 18, 1990, after a falling out with Clemson administration. He was subsequently cleared in an NCAA investigation that also was announced around that time.

Ford compiled a 96–29–4 (.760) record at Clemson, including a 6–2 bowl record. He is second on the school's wins list, behind only Frank Howard. He was the third winningest coach in the country on a percentage basis after the 1989 season. Ford also coached 21 All-Americans and 41 players who went on to play in the NFL, during his 11 seasons at Clemson.


Joe Kines brought Ford to the University of Arkansas in 1992 to help with the clean-up following Frank Broyles' firing of Jack Crowe (Ford's former offensive coordinator at Clemson) after a loss to the Citadel. This immediately led to speculation that Ford would be named head coach on a permanent basis. The speculation bore fruit after the season, when Ford was named head coach. He led Arkansas to an SEC West championship in 1995 on the legs of Madre Hill and the defensive genius of Joe Lee Dunn,

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