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THE GUIDE // SPORTS

A New Face for a New Era Ball State Men’s Basketball Coach Driven for Success story // lauren hughes photos // shae gist

“I FOUND MY PURPOSE AND PASSION IN LIFE, AND I FOUND SOMETHING I LOVE DOING.” - JAMES WHITFORD

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n a continued effort to improve its programs and overall game attendance rates, Ball State Athletics brought another new head coach into the mix this year. With recording-low attendance numbers in years past, the men’s basketball program has long been in need of a jumpstart. As the 19th head basketball coach in program history, James Whitford lit that fuse on April 10, 2013 when he pledged to bring fan excitement back to Worthen Arena. Whitford’s passion for basketball and generating excitement has been brewing for decades. Growing up, he loved the game, playing hoops until he graduated from high school in 1989. Thoughts of playing at the collegiate level crossed his mind, but he worried that if he pursued his dream, he would have to attend a small school. Whitford decided to leave the dream behind and followed in his family’s footsteps by attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in political science. But while attending Wisconsin, Whitford found himself missing the game he loved so much. In a move to put the sport

12 // BALL BEARINGS

back in his life, he sought help from his high school principal, who reached out to a staff member at Wisconsin. Shortly after, Whitford obtained a student manager position on the men’s basketball team. “I found my purpose and passion in life, and I found something I love doing,” he says. “[And] from that moment on I wanted to coach.” Whitford moved to Miami (Ohio) University after graduating form Wisconsin. As a Graduate Assistant for the program, he received a master’s in Sport Performance and Behavior and was hired as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program. Whitford spent 11 season with Miami before making his way to Xavier University where he spent four seasons. He spent his past four seasons at The University of Arizona-Tucson and after two season there, was promoted to associate head coach. Out of all the schools he could have gone to, the question posed is, why Ball State? Whitford explains that in looking

Volume 5 // Issue 1  
Volume 5 // Issue 1  

Ball Bearings magazine is your resource for in-depth storytelling about what's happening at Ball State, around the Muncie community and in y...

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