Jan. 30, 2002
by Debbie Antonelli
ACC Women’s Basketball Television Analyst
Kisha Ford is in her first year as a coach with the Georgia Tech program and returns to Tech after another successful season with the WNBA’s Miami Sol.
Ford, arguably one of the greatest women’s basketball players ever to don the Old Gold and White, returned to the Flats this fall to work with the Tech women’s team after a successful 2001 season with the WNBA’s Miami Sol. Ford is responsible for a number of areas with the Yellow Jackets, including overseeing the team’s academic areas and conducting individual workouts. Additionally she assists with scouting, setting up team travel arrangements and helping coordinate the team’s community service efforts.
Coordinating her daily workout schedule has been rigorous.
“I am up at 3 a.m. in the weight room putting in one hour of weight work. We meet as a staff at 4 a.m. and then we practice as a team. After practice, I do my skill work. I am in bed by 9 p.m. every night unless we have a game. My body has adjusted to the time frame.”
As expected, a Tech grad with her MBA has a “business plan” for staying in shape with the help on the Miami Sol trainer, Lisa Ciravella.
“She sends us our five week workout on CD rom with pictures of how we need to do certain things. It is very sophisticated. Lisa used to work with Chris Carter of the Minnesota Vikings so I know I am getting the very best advice for development that I can get at a professional level.”
In her career at Tech, Ford rewrote the Yellow Jacket record books as she finished her career as Tech’s all-time leader in five statistical categories and still ranks among the top 10 in nine others. The Jackets’ most prolific scorer, she finished her four years with 1,955 points and also is the all-time leader in field goals made (780), minutes played (3,823) and steals (278).
Kisha wanted to be “the big fish in a little pond” and by glancing at the records and the numbers, she accomplished her individual goals. “I wasn’t interested in Tech until Coach Berenato came to visit me in my home. I wanted to go to UVA and Coach B opened my eyes. Academically, Tech had everything I wanted and at the time, there was no ABL or WNBA so getting my degree from a good school was very high on my list. Coach B is like a parent to me today.”
She was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team three times, including a pair of second-team selections and a first-team honor in 1997. That same season, she was an honorable mention All-American by both the Associated Press and Kodak. Ford received Georgia Tech’s Total Person Award in 1997, annually given to one male and one female athlete recognizing excellence both on the court and in the classroom.
As for the memories of being a player at Tech, “one of my fondest memories is in my senior year when we beat Virginia. Georgia Tech had never beaten Virginia until that point. That was a great win for our program. Also recording the school’s first ever triple double was a nice milestone. I didn’t realize what a big deal that was until now.” Although Kisha Ford team never won an ACC Tournament game, it still was a wonderful experience for Ford.
Ford became the first Georgia Tech player to be drafted by the WNBA, when she was selected in the fourth round of the 1997 draft by the New York Liberty.
What will this coaching experience do for Ford? “I hope it will make me a better player. I find myself saying the same things to the players that Coach Ron Rothstein (Miami Sole) says to me during my season. I am learning the game from both sides. When a coach tells you they are really trying to help you fit into their system and be a better player, I really believe that because that is what I want for the Georgia Tech players.”
She graduated in the spring of 1997 from Georgia Tech with a degree in management and earned her MBA from Baker College this past summer. Her future plans involve getting her PhD and continuing her professional playing career in the WNBA. After her playing days are over, Ford would like to teach at the college level. Coaching may be in her long-range plans because she loves to teach and loves the game of basketball. Current Georgia Tech players already know this . . . some player some day is going to benefit from the time they spend with Kisha Ford on and off the court.