Jay County High School principal Phil Ford, left, chats with Columbia City athletics director Geoff Penrod before handing out medals at the IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals March 22 at Worthen Arena on the campus of Ball State University. The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association named Penrod and Ford administrators of the year Friday night at the IBCA clinic at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
Jay County High School principal Phil Ford, left, chats with Columbia City athletics director Geoff Penrod before handing out medals at the IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals March 22 at Worthen Arena on the campus of Ball State University. The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association named Penrod and Ford administrators of the year Friday night at the IBCA clinic at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

It was never the goal of Jay County High School principal Phil Ford to win awards when he began his administrative career.
So when the Indiana Basketball Coaches’ Association earlier this month named him one of the five administrators of the year, it was the type of recognition he didn’t expect.
“First of all I would say I was surprised because I had no idea that I was even being considered,” Ford said when he found out he had been chosen for the award. “I think any time you get an honor like this from a group of people like the basketball coaches association, it’s a very huge honor.
“It’s humbling to think that those folks would think that of you. It’s nice to think that an established association like that would hold you in that kind of regard and choose to recognize you that way.”
He received his award Friday night at the IBCA clinic at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. The IBCA recognized two administrators from Districts 1 and 2, and one from District 3. Athletics directors Robert Falls of Michigan City and Columbia City’s Geoff Penrod were chosen from District 1. Chad Bolser, AD from Richmond, and Ford were the honorees from District 2 and Booneville principal Mike Whitten was selected from District 3.
Ford has been on the IHSAA Board of Directors since 2006 and currently serves as its president. His term on the board expires June 25, and he said he does not plan to run again.
While he is the one who is recognized individually, Ford said the honor is a reflection of those who have worked with him on a daily basis.
“Anything I get has to be because of the people that have supported me in the Jay School Corporation and at Wes-Del before that,” said Ford, who served as athletics director and assistant principal at Wes-Del for five years before returning to JCHS in 2004. “Very seldom do you receive honors based on the individual things we’ve done.
“Any honor or recognition that an individual like the principal gets has to be because of the people around him, in my opinion.”
Jay Schools superintendent Dr. Tim Long said the school corporation is lucky to have someone like Ford on the staff.
“I think Phil has dedicated himself to a lot of things in his career, and one has certainly been sports,” Long said. “He’s done a lot to promote basketball and fair sportsmanship. He’s done a lot to promote Jay County.
“It’s a great honor and we’re proud to have him.”