Sports > Schools
Top Ten Celina Sports Stories of 2012: 1. End of an era: Ford resigns as head coach, athletic director at Celina
It would be tough to find a football team more dominant than Celina over the last 20 years.
Since 1995, the program has won seven state titles (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2007) and earned two second-place finishes (2006 and 2008).
A big part of that success came under head coach Butch Ford, who ended his tenure at Celina Tuesday by resigning as football head coach and school athletic director.
“I had a really good time [at Celina],” Ford said. “There were obviously a lot of ups.”
The 60-year-old Ford ends a 24-year run of coaching at Celina and 39-year coaching career that began at Pilot Point, his alma mater, in 1977.
Ford compiled a 122-16 record at Celina, a winning percentage just behind G.A. Moore, who he spent the bulk of his coaching career alongside. Ford, then the team’s defensive coordinator, replaced Moore as the Bobcats head coach in 2002. Ford quickly carved out his own niche as he reached 100 wins faster than any head football coach in Texas history (113 games) despite the Bobcats moving up to Class 3A in his first season.
“It was just time to step down,” Ford said. “I’m leaving the program in great hands though. They won’t miss a stride.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Elliott, a TCU graduate and former player, will take over for Ford as interim head coach of the football team and will likely maintain those responsibilities when the new season begins. Elliot’s freshman son Nathan was the Bobcats starting quarterback in 2011 and is expected to resume those duties in the fall.
“[Coach Elliott] will be the man,” Ford said.
Ford, who grew up between Celina and Pilot Point, said he will stay in the area and plans to spend his retirement wisely.
“I’m just going to enjoy my time,” he said. “I’ll probably do a little fishing and spend more time with my family.”
Ford, who has also served as athletic director since 2002, came to Celina after a two-year stint with Sherman and noted he will always think of Celina as his primary school.
When the Bobcats weren’t winning state titles, they were seeing alums like Jamie Blatnick and D’Anton Lynn signed by NFL teams and further engrained in pop culture, as evidenced by the program’s appearance in the 2002 documentary “Pride, Passion and Glory” and singer Kenny Chesney’s 2010 video “The Boys of Fall.”
“[Celina has] been the best place I’ve ever worked,” Ford said. “We won seven state championships in that time in football. We also won a championship in track, one in baseball and one in softball. I’ve just had a good time.”
Ford’s last season as head coach saw the Bobcats win 11 straight games to begin the season before a 42-19 loss to Henderson in the regional finals ended Celina’s season. The Bobcats had previously taken down Sanger, 42-21, and Lovejoy, 37-17, in the first two playoff games of the season.
Although running back Jamarick Simmons and lineman Jordan Roos are graduating, the team will return several key contributors in 2012 with quarterback Elliot and offensive lineman Jake Raulerson, a Texas commit, both back for another run.
“I think it was a good time to step down and let them get started,” Ford said.