CollegeMontana State Bobcats


Passion, character and grit: Robert Ford III's lasting impact on Montana State basketball

robert ford.jpg
Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 18:49:05-05

BOZEMAN — The name 'Robert Ford III' has become synonymous with Montana State basketball this season.

The redshirt senior guard from Portland, Ore., capped off a standout regular season with a 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists in an electric, nationally televised 76-64 win over Weber State on Monday.

Ford was dialed in during the game, but he's now he's had time to reflect on how much this team and this community truly mean to him.

"Once the night was over, then it kind of hit me that, ‘Okay, his is the last one,'" he smiled. "This is the moment I thought would never come. And now that it’s here it came too soon. I love Bozeman. I love the fans. I love everything about it."

Ford has a special connection to this community — he spends his off days connected with youth sports in town, cheering or coaching the next generation.

"When he shows up to cheer your team on, I can only imagine the impact that has," Bobcats coach Matt Logie explained. "He is someone who has been involved in the community, you know, coaching youth teams and working at camps.

He’s a giver, and that’s what you see with people being honored on senior night. You don’t get honored for things you receive, you get honored for things that you give, and Rob has given his time. Rob has given his heart."

Ford explained why he's so invested in giving back.

"When I was a kid growing up, any athlete that would give me a high five during a game or talk to me, or just give me a smile, it makes their day," Ford said. "It makes them want to come back to games."

Part of his decision to return to the Bobcats this off-season despite entering the transfer portal was because of how special Bobcat Nation is.

Now, reflecting back on the journey of the regular season, he’s led a team that’s earned a no. 5-seed and a bye in the Big Sky tournament — proving those who doubted his squad, wrong.

"At times we were not ranked to be one of the good teams, and one of the top teams to have a bye," Ford said. "And you know, looking at it now, we put all that behind us and just played. And now, we’re one of the teams to have a bye in the tournament, and it’s really good."

He leads through example and discipline — he’s the type of player you have to peel off the court. In this final stretch, the team’s playing their best basketball in March by taking on a quality that he personifies.

"You know we wanted to honor Rob with our passion," Logie explained where the team found their spark in their win over Weber State on senior day. "That’s the word that continues to jump off of the page when you watch him play, when you watch him practice, when you watch him compete. So we wanted everyone to step on that floor to have ‘Robert Ford’ passion."

Ford’s focused on the 'now,' but after after finishing his collegiate career, he’ll go pro.

"Just being a professional, so I want to be a professional athlete," Ford said. "You know, I have all the right guidelines, all the right people in my life to help me figure out what that is after all this is done. But right now I’m just focused on here. Staying here and being in the moment."

"The statistics and efficiency numbers he’s put up this year are the best of his career," Logie explained. "They’re very, very consistent with guys that go on to play professionally after college. And so, he’s opened those doors for himself in a big, big way being here at Montana State.

So, we’ll help him navigate that process this spring. Get him connected to the right agencies of people to help him navigate that world and represent Montana State for many years to come."

Ford and the No. 5 Bobcats tip off at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Big Sky tournament vs. No. 4 Weber State.