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James Whitford
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Wisconsin
Graduating Year: 1994
Experience: 1 Year
Phone: 765-285-8141
Email: mbasketball@bsu.edu
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Whitford Photos
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Whitford Videos
James Whitford Bio
Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Release: 04/06/2013

Former University of Arizona associate head coach James Whitford was introduced as the 19th men's basketball coach in Ball State history on April 10, 2013.

In his career as an assistant coach at Arizona, Zavier and Miami University, Whitford’s teams posted an overall record of 400-208, reached the NCAA tournament 10 times and played in the postseason 13 times.

“We are thrilled to add James Whitford to the Ball State family as our new men’s basketball head coach,” Ball State director of intercollegiate athletics Bill Scholl said upon Whitford's hiring. “In a very talented pool of candidates, James separated himself from the pack based on the success he has experienced at multiple institutions and the vision he has for Ball State basketball.”

The Cardinals went 5-25 in his first year as Whitford installed his new system with a roster that featured four freshmen playing significant minutes. Zavier Turner led the Mid-American Conference in scoring and assists and was named the MAC Freshman of the Year.

Whitford signed a 2014 freshman class that includes three state champions, a prep school national runner up and, for the first time at Ball State since 1996, two Indiana All-Stars. Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Snow said of the group, “Ball State’s 2014 recruiting class is one of the best mid-major recruiting classes in the country. The future is bright in Muncie.”

Whitford served four years on the staff at Arizona, including his final two as the associate head coach. He was with Arizona head coach Sean Miller for eight seasons, dating back to Miller's days guiding the Xavier program.

Whitford also brought more than a decade of experience with the Mid-American Conference, having served on the staff at Miami University under Herb Sendek and Charlie Coles for 11 seasons before joining Miller at Xavier.

“I want to thank President Gora and Bill Scholl for giving me this incredible opportunity at Ball State,” Whitford said at his introductory press conference. “In my mind, Ball State offers the best combination of academic excellence, basketball tradition, outstanding arena and fan support of any school in the Mid-American Conference. When you add the unparalleled recruiting base in the state of Indiana and the great teaching those high school players receive from their various coaches, this job became one I targeted over the last few weeks.”

Whitford helped Arizona to an average of 27 wins per season over his final three years in Tucson, including a 30-win campaign in 2010-11 that featured a Pac-10 Conference championship and an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats concluded the 2012-13 season with a mark of 27-8 (12-6 Pac-12) and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Whitford served as recruiting coordinator at Arizona and helped the program consistently land nationally ranked signing classes. The Wildcats' 2012 class was rated as high as third in the country.

Whitford was in charge of developing Arizona's post players, one of whom, Derrick Williams, became the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. He also led the defensive coordination for a Wildcats team that allowed fewer than 64 points per game in each of his final two seasons. The 2012-13 Arizona team outscored its opponents by nearly 10 points per game.

“James is a tireless worker and a relentless recruiter who has helped Miami, Xavier and Arizona all experience tremendous success within their respective conferences and the NCAA Tournament,” Scholl said. “He prides himself in developing young men on and off the basketball court and has an infectious positive energy that will be great for our program.

“James will feature an up-tempo offense with an aggressive defense that our players and fans will love at Worthen Arena.”

Before heading West, Whitford helped the Xavier program to an impressive run during his four years in Cincinnati. The Musketeers posted an overall record of 103-35, won three Atlantic 10 Conference championships and played in the NCAA Tournament all four years. The 2007-08 Xavier team reached the Elite Eight.

Whitford joined the staff at Xavier after working his way up the ranks at Miami, starting as an administrative assistant for two seasons from 1994-96 and rising to the top assistant position under Coles from 1998-2005.

He was a part of three NCAA Tournament appearances at Miami, including the RedHawks' 1999 Sweet 16 run. Miami won four MAC regular season championships during his time in Oxford, Ohio, and posted an overall record of 201-130.

A native of Madison, Wis., Whitford earned his start in college basketball as a manager at Wisconsin and graduated from the school in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He earned a master’s degree in sports studies from Miami in 1996.

Whitford and his wife Amber, a former member of the women's basketball staff at Xavier, have two sons, Liam and Spencer.