If you can’t beat him, hire him.
That’s what Buford High did with Roswell football coach John Ford, who on Monday accepted the same position with the Wolves, according to a school news release. Roswell opened its run to this year’s Class AAAAAAA state championship game by beating Buford 24-7.
Ford, who guided the Hornets to a 40-12 record during the last four years, inherits one of the most coveted jobs in the state. The Wolves have reached 10 straight state title games, winning seven championships over that stretch.
“I am thrilled, honored and excited to have the opportunity to join the staff at Buford High School,” Ford said in the news release. “I am humbled that I get to be the steward of something so special as Buford football.”
Ford is replacing the man largely responsible for shaping Buford into a powerhouse program.
Former Wolves coach Jess Simpson went 164-12 during his 12-year stint while overseeing the team’s transition from Class AA to AAAAA. On Dec. 16, just one week after Buford’s loss to Rome in the state championship game, Simpson announced he had accepted a position as Georgia State’s defensive line coach.
Finding a coach capable of maintaining Simpson’s success was imperative for school administrators.
“It is critical that the culture that has been established by Jess Simpson at Buford High School continues to evolve in the right direction,” Buford High principal Banks Bitterman said in the news release. “I truly think that Coach Ford has the character, integrity, and football knowledge to continue that culture of excellence.”
Ford’s football acumen certainly didn’t hurt his candidacy.
He quickly reformed a program that went 3-17 in the two years before his hiring in 2013 into a state-championship contender. After going 4-6 in Ford’s first season, Roswell went 8-4 with a second-round playoff appearance before ripping off a pair of 14-1 seasons.
The Hornets reached the state title game in both 2015 and 2016, most recently losing a 23-20 overtime thriller against Grayson last month.
“He brings a proven record of success as a coach — what he accomplished at Roswell speaks for itself,” Buford athletic director Dexter Wood said in the news release. “I also know him to be a man of great integrity and class; he is an even greater leader and person than a coach.”
Ford, who spent five years as an assistant at Roswell before his promotion to head coach, tweeted Monday morning that he was resigning from that position.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to leave Roswell High School,” Ford tweeted. “ … I did not come to this decision lightly, it has been through much prayer and reflection, and I feel like this is the appropriate time to takethe next step in my career and life.”
Hours later, Buford announced his hiring. Ford and wife Anne have three daughters: Anna-Kate, Liza-Grace and Adeline.