During his 29 years as the head coach of the Owen football team, Kenny Ford frequently found himself in front of television cameras. The charismatic coach was widely recognized as much for his quick wit and entertaining phrasing as he was for his defensive play calling and ability to win.
That experience will likely translate well to Ford’s post-coaching life providing color commentary during Western North Carolina high school football games this fall.
TV station WMYA 40 announced in mid-June that it would broadcast four regional games in October, all on Thursday nights.
Ford will call ‘em likes he sees ‘em for a couple of games before his former team, the Warhorses, travel to Hendersonville Oct. 22, a Western Highlands Conference foe.
“At least I have a couple of games before I get to that game,” he said. “I don’t really know how it will go. We’ll just have to see.”
Viewers’ first chance to see Ford in action will be Oct. 8 when he provides commentary for two other former conference opponents - Polk vs. Mitchell.
“Polk is liable to put me up in a tree or something for that one,” he said of the team that he defeated in his final regular season game as coach. “I don’t know if they’ll even let me in their press box.”
Ford will joining Jason Patterson in the booth for the games, WMYA general manager Jack Connors said. Patterson has been calling high school football play-by-play for WMYA’s South Carolina games for the past three years.
“There are two things that make Kenny (Ford) an excellent candidate for doing color commentary,” Patterson said. “The first one is 29 years, or so, as a football coach. There is very little that can happen on a football field that will be a surprise to him.
“The second is the fact that he has a terrific sense of presence when he’s talking to anyone, whether it is an individual, or soon, a television audience. He is a great storyteller.”
Connors thinks that Ford’s vast experience on the football field will help him connect with viewers who have varying levels of understanding about the sport.
“I think he will make the game understandable,” Connors said. “To an extent, he’ll be able to predict what is likely to happen. I also think that people will really enjoy his personality and the relationship that he will have with Jason Patterson on the air.”
Ford will continue to support Owen football, he said. He will host the Warhorse Classic, an annual golf tournament and fundraiser, on July 17.
“I’m going to help get it going this year,” he said of the event. “That’s one way I can help (new coach) Nathan (Padgett) and the team.”