BIXBY – Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford was ejected while he was a spectator at his son’s basketball game at Bixby High School on Thursday.
Ford, whose son Brooks plays for Stillwater High, was told to leave by an official in the third quarter of the Pioneers’ loss to Bartlesville. Ford was seated with a group of Stillwater supporters a few rows behind the team’s bench.
Multiple witnesses said the ejection was an overreaction and that Ford was not acting out of line.
Evan Fahrbach, the Bartlesville radio play-by-play broadcaster and sports director of KWON am1400, said an official stopped the game to tell Ford he had to go. The official was identified by multiple sources as Rick Smith.
Fahrbach said Ford did not do “anything demonstrative at all.”
A school official at the game who requested anonymity echoed Fahrbach’s account.
“(Smith) kind of baited him into it,” the school official said. “Travis came in to watch his son play, and I felt like he was baited into the whole thing. … When all of this took place, I didn’t hear one single thing said. The official blows his whistle, points (at Ford) and says, ‘You’re gone.’ And then I saw Travis walk out.”
After the game, Ford is said to have met with Smith in the office of Mark Chambers, the executive director of athletics and activities for the Bixby Public Schools.
Smith won’t have to submit an official report to the OSSAA, the school official indicated, because the incident did not involve a participating coach or athlete.
Another source, who was at the game to support Bartlesville, was seated in the upper level of Bixby’s gym with other Bartlesville supporters and “couldn’t even hear (Ford) yelling.”
Smith, the game official, was speaking with the Stillwater coach when Ford said something, believed to be “you need to blow your whistle.”
That’s when Smith ejected Ford.
The Bartlesville source said it was “ridiculous.” In terms of volume, the source could hear Bartlesville fans over Ford.
“I hadn’t seen anything like that,” the source said.
Ford, whose Oklahoma State team leaves for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Friday for a neutral-site game against Minnesota on Saturday, was wearing a white OSU pullover with gray sleeves.
“It was very surreal,” said Fahrbach, who added that he has seen plenty of parents not thrown out for being much more demonstrative.
An Oklahoma State spokesperson had no comment on Thursday evening.
The game was part of the first round of the Bixby Invitational Tournament.