Hosting a basketball game or any athletic event on campus may seem like a trivial task, but it takes strategic planning and hard work to make sure it is successful. The man responsible for that success is Skip Ford.
Ford, who celebrated his 28th work anniversary this past June, isOtterbein’s facilities supervisor and equipment administrator. The Clements Recreation Center, the Rike Center, and Memorial Stadium are where he spends most of his days.
Ford, a 1980 Otterbein alumnus, graduated with a bachelor's degree in business. As a student, he was the unofficial team manager and athletic trainer for the football and basketball teams, since Otterbein did not have either at the time. That was almost 42 years ago - now it is his job to make sure sporting events go off without a hitch.
Not only is Ford an alumnus of Otterbein, his wife, Louise, is a part-time faculty member in education and his son, Brent, a 2012 graduate, was the mascot for the Otterbein basketball team in 2002 when they won the Division III national championship.
“This isn't his job, this is his life,” Adam Prescott, Otterbein's sports information director, said. “He is one of the people who have made it feel like home.”
Allen Moore, the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for Otterbein's football team, remembers his time as an athlete at Otterbein with Ford. “He always took care of us like he does for the kids now,” Moore said, "Most players don't realize how good they had it until they graduate or coach at other places."
Moore said coaching at other schools was different. If they needed something clean, or if they needed anything at the last minute, there was a high chance they would not get it done. It was uncommon for coaches and athletes to have someone taking care of them all the time like Ford does.
“For my high school graduation party, Skip surprised me with my Otterbein football jersey and a helmet to display at my party,” 2008 graduate Paul Stelzer said. “To this day I can remember how excited I was to see that.”
Stelzer played football at Otterbein for four years and has been the assistant director of admission at Otterbein for the past 11 years. “The Skip I see on campus today is the same Skip I met way back then. Skip has the biggest heart and is still the best."
“Skip has an incredibly positive impact on Otterbein,” former vice president for student affairs and athletic director Dawn Stewart said. “When athletic alumni come back to visit, they always stop to see Skip first.”