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A new era for Missouri State University men’s basketball officially began March 22, 2018 with the introduction of Dana Ford as the program’s 18th head coach.
Ford was introduced to a gathering of media and fans at JQH Arena after his hire was unanimously approved by the Missouri State University Board of Governors Executive Committee late Wednesday afternoon and an extensive national search.
The 33-year-old served the last four years as head coach at Tennessee State University. He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most promising young head coaches and was awarded the Ben Jobe Award in 2016 as the nation’s top Division I minority coach.
“Within the first 15 minutes of talking with Coach Ford, I was excited about him,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “I could tell he was extremely excited about Missouri State. He and his wife, Christina, have great personal stories. I don’t think we could have found a better fit.”
Ford orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in NCAA history when he accepted the TSU job in 2014-15 as the nation’s youngest Division I head coach at the time. The Tigers went from a 5-26 record his first season to a 20-11 ledger a year later. He earned Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors and NABC District 19 Coach of the Year laurels that same season.
Over his last three years in Nashville, Ford has led the Tigers to a combined 52-39 record and coached five All-OVC players in addition to two players recognized on the OVC All-Newcomer Team. Under his leadership, Tennessee State also doubled its home attendance average and twice earned votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll during the 2016-17 season.
“When you consider what Coach Ford has done, his resume is impressive,” said Kyle Moats, MSU’s director of athletics. “But when you consider that he was the fifth-youngest head coach in Division I this season – with four years of head coaching already under his belt – then you can understand why all of us are so excited here today.”
A native of Tamms, Ill., Ford is a 2006 graduate of Illinois State University where he was a four-year letterman for the Redbirds under coaches Tom Richardson and Porter Moser from 2002-06. He was a regular starter and led ISU in steals as a senior.
He went on to successful assistant coaching stints at Winthrop and Wichita State under coach Gregg Marshall and later as associate head coach at Illinois State under coach Dan Muller. His coaching resume also includes assistant coaching stops at Chipola (Fla.) College and Tennessee State.
Ford has been an assistant coach on two NCAA Tournament teams at Winthrop (2006-07) and Wichita State (2011-12) as well as a NJCAA national final four run at Chipola College (2008-09).
“I’m looking forward to getting started,” said Ford. “I have always had a great admiration for this university and the great basketball program here. It is an honor to return to the Missouri Valley Conference and be the one selected to carry on a great Bears basketball tradition.”
Ford’s contract, which was also approved by the Board of Governors, is a five-year agreement through March 31, 2023. He will earn a base salary of $375,000 his first two years and $425,000 in years three, four and five. Additional achievement incentives for NCAA and NIT appearances, conference championships, coaching honors, attendance average and APR standards are also included in the agreement.
The Fords have two sons, Carson and Cameron, and a daughter, Charlie Rose.
Associate head coach Corey Gipson will begin his fourth season on the Missouri State staff in 2018-19.
The native of Sikeston, Mo., first came to MSU on July 2, 2015 and was promoted to associate-level duties on June 2, 2016.
During his time at MSU, Gipson has been heavily involved in recruiting and player development, including All-MVC first-teamer Alize Johnson, who led the MVC in rebounding the last two years and was the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 2016-17. He also has coached two-time MVC All-Defensive Team selection Obediah Church, the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots, and helped the Bears earn evolved into a top defensive program in the MVC.
Prior to coming to Springfield, Gipson spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. While at APSU, he helped coach Chris Horton, the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots and one of only 13 players in Division I history to score 1,500 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and block 300 shots.
He was named Austin Peay’s Young Alumnus of the Year in 2012
He also spent two seasons as associate head coach at UNC Greensboro (2010-12) after one year (2009-10) there as assistant coach. He earned his promotion to associate head coach at UNCG primarily due to his exceptional recruiting skills. His coaching history also includes a stop at Division II Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va., where he coordinated the Trojans’ recruiting efforts for head coach Tony Collins from 2005-09. Collins was a longtime assistant at APSU and recruited Gipson out of junior college. Gipson was on the staff for a 2007 conference championship run that included a standout effort by Avis Wyatt who was named first-team all-conference and defensive player of the year.
As a player at Austin Peay, Gipson was a two-year starter at point guard for coach Dave Loos, helping the Govs become the top defensive team in the OVC in both of his seasons. APSU went 45-18 in that span and never lost a home game (27-0) in two seasons. Gipson averaged 7.7 points, 2.1 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game during his career. He also made 94 three-pointers, shooting 34.1 percent from long range. He was also part of consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04 and an NCAA Tournament run in 2003.
He has served as an adjunct professor at both Austin Peay and Virginia State and made several guest appearances on the BET reality series College Hill while at Virginia State.
Gipson, 37, earned both his bachelor’s (2004) and master’s degrees (2005) from Austin Peay. He also earned an associate’s degree from Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., where he played two seasons for legendary coach Gene Bess before transferring to Austin Peay.
As a prep standout at Richland High School, near Sikeston, he was a Missouri Mr. Show-Me Basketball nominee as a senior, averaging 30.9 points per contest in 1998-99. He also earned consensus all-state honors that season.
He and his wife, April, reside in Springfield.
Jake Headrick joined the MSU staff on April 6, 2018.
He spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at Samford University after joining the staff there in 2012.
Headrick is native of Hamilton, Ala., and a 2005 graduate of the University of Montevallo, where he earned his degree in kinesiology after a successful playing career.
A tireless recruiter, he spent three years from 2009-12 as the head coach at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. He compiled an overall record of 67-22 during his stint at Chipola and also tallied a 20-16 mark in Panhandle Conference play. He joined the Chipola basketball staff for a second time in 2008-09 after serving as an operations assistant and video coordinator at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., during the 2007-08 campaign.
While at Ole Miss, Headrick helped the Rebels, a preseason last-place pick in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference, to the semifinal round of the National Invitation Tournament and 24 wins -- the second most in school history. He also handled administrative duties and assisted with both academics and on-campus recruiting at the SEC program.
During his first stint as an assistant coach at Chipola in 2006-07, Headrick helped lead the Indians to a NJCAA national runner-up finish and the most wins in school history (33). He also coached the juco national player of the year JaMarcus Ellis, as well as a total of six players who went on to sign Division I scholarships.
Before arriving at Chipola, Headrick served as an assistant coach at Montevallo for a season, where he helped the Falcons reach the NCAA Division II Elite Eight and set a school record for victories with 29. He also coached the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year James Hall and two All-Americans.
As a two-year letterman for the Falcons, Headrick helped the Montevallo basketball team win back-to-back GSC championships and reach the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen both seasons. Montevallo was 49-16 during his playing career.
He is a product of Hamilton (Ala.) High School where he was a three-time all-county selection and averaged 21 points per game his senior season to help his club to its first 20-win season in seven years.
Headrick and his wife, Tommye, have a son, Eli.
Jase Herl joined the Missouri State staff on April 6, 2018.
He served as an assistant coach at Colorado State the previous two years, including a short stint as the program's interim head coach at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
He helped guide the Rams to a 24-12 record in 2016-17 as well as a runner-up finish in the Mountain West regular season and tournament, and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. He was also named to Under Armour's "30 Under 30", recognizing the up-and-coming 30 assistant basketball coaches under 30 years of age.
A native of Goodland, Kan., Herl also served an assistant coach at South Plains College in Texas, where he worked on recruitment, player schedules, academics and daily operations as well as on-court coaching. In the 2015-16 season, he helped the Texans to a 21-9 overall record, a 12-4 finish in conference action and coached four all-conference honorees.
Prior to that, he spent three years as the head coach at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, Kan. The first-ever head coach of the program at Northwest Tech, Herl amassed 56 wins and posted a 32-5 record on the Mavs home floor at the Max Jones Fieldhouse. His 56 wins were the most by all head coaches under the age of 30 in the NJCAA by the end of the 2014-15 season.
In three years under Herl's guidance, the Mavericks placed four players on the All-Region VI team, two NJCAA Region VI All-Tournament Team performers and one Sporting News JUCO All-American. His Mavericks posted three victories over NJCAA Top 25 ranked teams and all 14 of his sophomores continued their playing careers at four-year institutions, including the school's first NCAA Division I signee after the 2013-14 season. In three seasons, Herl had five players sign at the NCAA Division I level and two additional players who played professionally overseas.
Prior to being named the first ever head coach at Northwest Tech, Herl spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach under Jim Heaps at his alma mater Colorado Mesa University (formerly Mesa State College). Herl helped lead the Mavericks to an 18-10 record and an NCAA tournament berth in his lone season on the CMU coaching staff.
As a player at Colorado Mesa University, Herl was an integral part of the 2009 team that reached as high as the No. 9 seed in the NABC/Division II polls, the highest national ranking in school history. He was named to Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first team as well as RMAC Defensive Player of the Year and RMAC All-Academic Team following his senior season in 2009-10. As a junior, he was a second-team All-RMAC selection after averaging 12.5 points per game and a team high 7.7 rebounds per contest. Upon graduation, he was ranked in the top 13 in five career statistical categories at Colorado Mesa, despite playing just two seasons for the Mavericks. Prior to transferring to Colorado Mesa, Herl played two seasons at Dodge City Community College from 2006-08, where he was a team captain and averaged 10.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds.
Herl is the all-time leading scorer at Goodland (Kan.) High School with 965 career points. He was named to the all-state team following his senior season when he averaged 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
Herl has a daughter, Carter. He was married to his wife, Jacee, in May of 2017.
Announced on April 6, 2018, Sheldon Everett serves as the director of operations for the basketball Bears.
He spent the last five seasons (2012-2017) as an assistant coach at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
During his time in Miami, Everett coordinated the recruiting efforts for the RedHawks and oversaw the development of Miami's guards.
Everett came to Miami after three seasons (2009-12) as an assistant coach with the men's basketball program at Tennessee State under coach John Cooper. Alongside, Ford, Everett helped Tennessee State to a 20-13 record in 2011-12, the program's first winning record since 1995-96 and the Tigers' first 20-win season in 32 years. The team knocked off seventh-ranked Murray State and later defeated their first SEC opponent with an upset of South Carolina. TSU nearly earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament, falling to Murray State by two points in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament final.
Prior to his time with the men's program at TSU, Everett spent one year (2008-09) as an assistant coach with the Tigers' women's basketball program. During his time on the TSU women's basketball staff, Everett helped the team to its first winning record in 14 years.
Everett joined the Tennessee State staff after spending the 2007-08 season as the director of basketball operations at his alma mater, South Carolina, under head coach Dave Odom. While at South Carolina, Everett served as an assistant coach for the American Team of the 2008 DiGiorno College All-Star Game presented by the NABC at the 2008 NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
Everett was a two-year letterman and two-time SEC All-Academic Team selection at South Carolina, helping the Gamecocks to a 23-11 record and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2004. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in management and marketing at South Carolina in 2004.