Bob Ford Jr. & Sr. have decided to retire after 33 seasons as the head and assistant cross country coaches at Fairfield Prep, the school announced in a release on Thursday morning.
Fairfield Prep won three Class LL state championships (1997, 1998 and 2011), two State Opens (1997 and 2011) and three Southern Connecticut Conference titles (1997, 1998 and 2013) under the Fords’ leadership.
Ford, Jr. said he and his dad had discussed in previous years about when was the right time to step down. They made their decision in the fall, then gave it the winter season to make sure this was the right time.
“There was always another kid or another group of seniors,” Ford said. “Azaan (Dawson, a two-time Register All-Area selection) is a wonderful runner and if he were going into his senior year, we’d feel like we would be abandoning him. But he will have a good coach and will have more good success.”
The program has turned out several outstanding runners including Brian McGovern, Christian Alvarado, Connor Rog and Drew Thompson, all of whom qualified for the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. The seven appearances made at the event are the most of any program in the country, according to the release.
Thompson and Rog were both past Connecticut Gatorade State Runners of the Year. Thompson, now running at Dartmouth, was a three-time Area MVP for the New Haven Register in the sport.
Ford Jr. was the SCC Coach of the Year in 2013 and the CIAC Outstanding Coach of the Year for Cross Country in 2000. He also coached Prep’s outdoor track and field team from 1988-2005 and indoor team from 1995-2005. Ford. Sr. was the head coach for indoor track from 2006-07.
Ford is 63. He said he will “probably teach another four or five years.” Bob Sr. is now 87.
“My children have never known me not being a coach. My son was born the year I started coaching,” Ford Jr. said. “My wife will be happy. I will be able to do something different on a Saturday.”
Ford said he and his dad will help with the transition process for whoever is named the new coach.
“The program really became a component of my life,” he said.