Jan. 12, 2016


Visiting hours: Sunday, Jan. 17; 3pm-8pm

Funeral: Tuesday, Jan. 19
Viewing at 11am, funeral at noon
Schoedinger Worthington Chapel
6699 North High Street
Worthington, Ohio 43085

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Chris Ford, the head coach of the Ohio State wrestling program from 1977 through 1986 who won 115 dual matches and mentored hundreds of student-athletes, passed away on Monday. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Ford took over as head coach during the 1976-77 season and over the next 10 seasons amassed a record of 115-92-3, the fourth most wins in Ohio State history. Ford coached Jude Skove to the national title at 158 pounds in 1986, Ohio State’s first champion in 20 years. Skove was later inducted into the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. Dave Ruckman (167) and Don Moxley (HWT) won conference championships in 1982 and 1985, respectively, under the Buckeye head coach. Moxley went on to earn an All-Big Ten selection in 1985, as well.

In his first season, Ford guided Andy DiSabato to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships at 142 pounds. DiSabato was the first of six All Americans under Ford — DiSabato (third, 1977), Jeff Golz (eighth, 1980, Hwt.), Ed Potokar (eighth, 1982, 177 lbs. and third, 1983, 177 lbs.), Richard Burton (sixth, 1983, 134 lbs.) and Skove (first, 1986, 158 lbs.). Ford also coached four wrestlers that participated in the prestigious NWCA All-Star Classic — DiSabato (1979), Phil Anglim (1981), Potokar (1983) and Skove (1985).

Ford recorded winning seasons in each of his final six campaigns, highlighted by a 17-7 mark in 1982-83. In that season, Potokar won 50 matches, which still stands as a single-season school record. Potokar finished his career with 151 victories, second only to Tommy Rowlands (164) on the all-time list.

From 1983 through 1985, Ford developed Moxley into one of the historically dominant wrestlers in Ohio State history, as he recorded 50 career pins, tied with Logan Stieber (2012-15) for the most in program history. From 1980-81 through 1985-86, Ford’s team went a combined 84-52-2. The 1980-81 squad won 13 of its final 14 duals after a 1-2 start to finish 14-3 and 7-2 in the Big Ten.

In a four-year period between 1980 and 1983, Ford’s team finished in the top five at the Big Ten Championships four times. The 1980 Buckeyes’ fifth-place showing was the programs best in 10 years. 

In 2010, Ford was inducted into the Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.