Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter presents Coach of the Year award to Wanda Ford, physical education teacher for Summit Academy Community School – Parma.

Wanda Ford, a basketball legend and physical education teacher for Summit Academy Community School – Parma, was named Coach of the Year in youth basketball by the City of Parma. She received the honor on March 25 at Parma City Hall from Mayor Tim DeGeeter, Ward 4 Councilwoman Kelly Zacharias and Director of Parks and Recreation Mickey Vittardi.

“First time coaching and look what happened,” says Ford. “It was an honor … truly felt good about it.”

Garnished with speeches, photos, a commemorative plaque and other fanfare, the city hall celebration would never be if it weren’t for Ford’s good friend who persistently nudged her toward the basketball coaching gig for fifth- and sixth-grade students.

“God has me going in a different path and the path is coaching kids … I really enjoyed those kids. They really worked hard,” Ford says.

In the same vein, at Summit Academy Ford describes her support for students as her walk of life.  “I care. I want to see each and every one of these students succeed and to help them get in shape. I put my heart into the work,” she says. “Every day I try and bring a high-frequency vibe of love into the building, into these kids.”

A graduate of East Tech High School, Ford was inducted into the Sports Legends of Cleveland Public Schools Senate League on Oct. 29, 2022. Upon graduating from East Tech, Ford received 120 scholarship offers. She decided on Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where she set an NCAA career record with 1,887 rebounds during her 1983-1986 collegiate years. Ford, in fact, was the first woman in NCAA history to collect 1,500 basketball rebounds.