Men’s Basketball Manager Ford All In For The Swoosh
By Erich Bacher
Virginia Media Relations
Turning down an all-expense paid trip to Spain is a tough decision for anyone, let alone a college student. But for fourth-year men’s basketball student manager Logan Ford, the decision to forgo the 10-day trip to Spain with the Cavaliers this past summer has paved the way for a full-time job with one of the world’s largest sports brands, Nike, next August.
Ford, a Charlottesville native who’s a mechanical engineering major, spent the 2014 and 2015 summers interning at Northrup Grumman, a leading global security company based in Charlottesville. After two summers of gaining industry experience, Ford concluded he wasn’t passionate about his initial profession of choice.
In the fall of 2015, Ford received an email from Adrien Harraway, UVA’s associate athletics director for student services, about Nike’s sports marketing internship program. After two summers at Northrup Grumman, Ford knew he wanted to stay close to sports like his older brother, Luke Ford, who was a four-year men’s basketball manager at UVA and is now director of men’s basketball operations at William & Mary.
“If I got a chance to intern for Nike, there was no way I could see myself turning that down,” Ford said. “It was a really tough decision [not to go to Spain]. I knew that if I didn’t get the Nike internship and didn’t go to Spain, then this summer would have been a bust.”
Ford’s decision to pursue Nike and not go overseas with the men’s basketball program was received with full support from Ronnie Wideman, UVA’s associate athletics director for basketball administration and Ford’s direct supervisor with the Cavaliers.
“Logan has done a tremendous job serving our men’s basketball program,” Wideman said. “Our managers are the ultimate servants and unsung heroes of our program. They do whatever is asked of them without complaint. It was a no-brainer supporting him and his pursuit of an internship with Nike.”
“Ronnie supported my decision, which was amazing, and he wished the best for me,” Ford added. “He wanted to do everything in his power to help me get the internship that I wanted.”
Ford eventually landed an interview with Nike and made an impression with the company even though he wasn’t a great match for the sports marketing program. His resume was filtered to other groups within Nike and the procurement department hired Ford for its 12-week internship in Beaverton, Oregon.
“My role was strategic sourcing and I worked with a team of five people for the technology team within procurement,” Ford said. “My main project was working with Nike’s retail stores to understand all of the hardware and software involved in each store. We identified vendors, managed contracts and negotiated new contracts utilizing future technologies.”
Ford lived next to the famed Nike campus and enjoyed the lifestyle and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The company also encouraged its employees to take advantage of hiking, whitewater rafting and weekend sightseeing trips.
“Working at Nike felt a lot like being on a college campus. I got to meet tons of people in tons of different positions all across Nike. I would just hop on a bike if I had to get somewhere. It felt a lot like the Grounds at UVA. Oregon was beautiful, and people are out walking and biking all of the time.”
“I had a blast, I got an offer a couple weeks after the summer ended, and once I got that offer I pretty much stopped searching anywhere else. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”
Ford credits his experience as a basketball manager in helping gain his full-time position with Nike.
“In my first year [as a basketball manager] it seemed weird to be filling up water bottles and wiping up other people’s sweat, but you really buy into that as you go,” Ford said. “One big thing when I went out to Nike this summer, I didn’t feel like anything was a privilege or anything was given to me. It all had to be earned and I was out there to serve my team and help them out in any way that I could as just an intern. I think Nike respected my attitude that I had out there. I attribute a lot of that to what I have learned from Coach [Tony] Bennett and his pillars – humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness.”
Ford will begin his position at Nike as a procurement sourcing analyst in July of 2017. He will graduate from UVA this June with a 3.7 GPA.
“I might go out West early and check out the national parks out there and travel around for a few weeks, something for sure.”
Or maybe Ford will make that 10-day trip to Spain he missed with the basketball team in August.