More than two weeks after firing Paul Lusk, Missouri State may have found its next men’s basketball coach.
Various reports Tuesday said the university is finalizing a deal that would bring Tennessee State coach Dana Ford to Springfield. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted Missouri State was closing in on the 33-year-old.
KOLR10 spoke with Tennessee State associate head coach Randy Peele Tuesday evening. He said Ford was not in Nashville. The TSU coaching staff was unsure of Ford’s whereabouts on Tuesday, only saying he was out of town.
The Tennessee State sports information department told KOLR10 it was not in a position to confirm any reports.
The Missouri State athletic department said it has not planned there is no news conference for Wednesday. However, NewsChannel5 in Nashville has reported the Bears and Ford are finalizing a deal.
Ford, a Southern Illinois native, has been at Tennessee State for four seasons, with a 52-39 record over the last three years. He was the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2016.
Ford has extensive ties to the Valley, something MSU president Clif Smart said (via tweet) is a factor in the school’s coaching search. Ford played at Illinois State from 2002 to 2006. He wound up back in the MVC as an assistant coach at Wichita State, then returned to his alma mater to work under Redbirds coaches Tim Jankovich and Dan Muller.
When Tennessee State hired Ford in 2014, he became the youngest NCAA Division I head coach. He received a contract extension before the 2016 season, earning $220,000 annually.