WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Greg Walker
Garrett Ford was an outstanding running for the Mountaineers during the mid-1960s, becoming the first WVU player to top both 2,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 yards in a single season.
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He tallied 2,166 yards from 1965-67, the WVU career rushing record at the time, with eight 100-yard games and 120 career points.
His 453 career rushing attempts were the most in school history when he graduated and his 236 attempts in 1966 were also a long-time WVU standard.
In 1965, the Washington, D.C., native led the team in rushing with 894 yards. His 1,068 yards as a junior in 1966 placed him first in the school record books. At the time of his induction, Ford was only one of three running backs to lead WVU in season total offense over the course of the previous 35 seasons. He accomplished that with 1,082 yards of total offense in 1966.
Perhaps his best performance came in a 63-48 win against Pitt on Oct. 2, 1965, when he rushed for a then-school-record 133 yards in the second quarter on the way to a 192-yard rushing performance and 268 all-purpose yards.
A second team All-American in 1966, Ford played for coaches Gene Corum in 1965 and Jim Carlen in 1966-67. WVU was 14-13-3 during Ford's three seasons in Morgantown and after college he was drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos. He played one season with Denver before returning to WVU to become an assistant football coach on Bobby Bowden's staff in 1970. Ford was the first African-American assistant coach in school history.
He later served as the athletic department's academic counselor from 1977-85 before being elevated to assistant athletic director.
Ford announced his retirement after more than four decades of service to his alma mater at the conclusion of the 2011 academic year.
Ford received his bachelor's degree from WVU in physical education in 1969 and earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling from WVU in 1973. He was born May 4, 1945, in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of DeMatha Catholic High. He is a member of DeMatha's Hall of Fame.
Ford and his wife Thelma have two grown children, Tracie and Garrett Jr., both WVU graduates.