Hidden Figures of LSU Volleyball: Dedrick Ford
Student-Athlete is a word that is heard quite often in college athletics, but regularly we forget how much work goes into the first part of the phrase. Keeping our athletes on track as a student is just as important as anything that takes place on the court for LSU athletes like the ones that play volleyball for the Tigers.
Dedrick Ford is on the forefront of making sure the student-athletes stay focused and committed to their academic and post-graduation goals. Ford is the Learning Specialist at the LSU Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes and he works specifically with the volleyball, beach volleyball and football teams.
Head Coach Fran Flory said this about his work with her Lady Tigers Volleyball team.
“He allows the student-athletes to be people,” explained LSU Volleyball head coach Fran Flory, “and he creates an atmosphere and an attitude that they can conquer everything. Nothing is too big that they can’t handle, and that’s a gift from God from him for him.”
Ford started his career at Auburn University where he planned on playing football as a walk-on, but after a change of plans due to an injury he became an athletic trainer and found his passion for helping athletes. Ford got his Bachelors’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He proceeded to earn his Master’s in Counseling at Auburn before he decided to pursue a PhD here at LSU.
He described his path to the servant leadership as follows: “Once you forge the relationships,” Ford explained, “you really get the best out of the student-athletes to help them reach their full potential. It led me to where I went on to get my Master’s in Counseling. I wanted to pursue opportunities to research, especially in athletics so I applied to get my PhD here, started as a graduate assistant and here we are.”
One of Ford’s main roles and focus is helping freshmen as they transition to college. The Summer Bridge Program is where many LSU freshman student-athletes are first introduced to living on their own on as they transition into college life.
Described as a kind and caring soul and who is a great listener, Ford looks to make a large impact on the student-athletes’ career both on and off the court. He does this by helping them reach their full potential. It could mean going professional or looking into graduate school. Helping them obtain a degree is very important.
“Each student that I meet with my goal is making sure that they reach their full potential,” Ford explained. “I’ve been able to assist several of our bright young ladies, to medical, graduate, and PT school. Ultimately, I just want them to be able to reach their full potential and help them chase their dreams”
He’s earned many degrees alongside of many student athletes who have walked across the stage for LSU,” Flory added.
“To go through the struggle from freshmen study hall to the graduation stage, that’s very hard to reach,” said Ford. “I would say that truly makes my day to see them reach their goals and fulfill whatever it is that their heart desires – that’s what it’s all about.”
Those around the program and Ford himself say that he is working on his life’s true meaning by helping and assisting our student athletes through their journey though university.
Most of the academic work with student-athletes occurs one-on-one and is unknown to those outside the volleyball program, but Ford enjoys working behind the scenes to help them on their way to their degree and success past college.
“All we want them to do is achieve their best sense of themselves,” said Ford, “and ultimately graduate here with a quality degree.”