Danny Ford was born in Gadsden, Alabama and played his college football at the University of Alabama from 1967 to 1969. Ford was an All-SEC selection under Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama, where he played in three bowl games. He received a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts in 1970 and a master’s degree in special education in 1971 from Alabama. Ford coached as an assistant at Alabama and Virginia Tech before joining Charley Pell’s staff at Clemson.
He served as the head football coach at Clemson University in South Carolina from 1978 to 1989 and at the University of Arkansas from 1993 to 1997, compiling a career record of 122–59–5. During his 12 seasons as head coach of the Clemson Tigers, he captured five Atlantic Coast Conference titles and won six bowl games. Ford’s 1981 Clemson team completed a 12–0 season with a win in the Orange Bowl and was named the national champion. The first national title in the school’s 98-year history.
While at Clemson, Ford defeated a number of coaches later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, including Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley, and Woody Hayes. Ford compiled a 96–29–4 (.760) record at Clemson, including a 6–2 bowl record. He is second on the school’s wins list, behind only Frank Howard. He was the third winningest coach in the country on a percentage basis after the 1989 season.
Ford also coached 21 All-Americans and 41 players who went on to play in the NFL, during his 11 seasons at Clemson. He retired from coaching and continues to reside in Clemson, SC. In 2013, Clemson University honored Danny Ford by putting him in the Clemson Ring of Honor. Danny Ford was selected to the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class as a Coach.
Video from Anna Hickey.