Kent State has won a $1.2 million judgment against former men’s basketball coach Geno Ford for leaving in 2011 to become coach at Bradley.
The lawsuit claimed Ford had no permission to terminate his Kent State contract, which was scheduled to expire in 2015. Ford’s teams went 68-37 in three seasons at Kent State.
Bradley University issued a statement Tuesday saying its actions and Ford’s actions “have been entirely ethical, legal, and transparent. The lawsuit is ongoing and will continue to be addressed through the court system.”
Fritz Byers, an attorney representing Ford, declined comment. Messages seeking comment were left for the coach.
While Kent State agreed to let Ford talk to Bradley, “Consent to interview was not a consent to breach the employment contract,” Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow said in a 14-page ruling Friday. “KSU did not acquiesce to Coach Ford’s abandonment of their mutual contract.”
Ford was Kent State’s head coach from April 2008 through March 27, 2011, when Bradley announced him as its new coach.
Ford led Kent State to its second consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season title in 2010-11. The Flashes finished 25-12 and lost in the NIT quarterfinals.
Ford also has coached at NAIA Shawnee State and Division III Muskingum.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the ruling reflects a state obligation to insure contract enforcement.
“When coaches and high-profile employees leave public universities in breach of their contracts, the state of Ohio has an obligation to seek the compensation to which it is entitled,” DeWine said in a statement Tuesday.
Kent State’s claims against Bradley for alleged contract interference are scheduled for trial Oct. 7, DeWine said.