For Carolina basketball fans, the title of this post has significant meaning beyond the city of Motown and its crappy cars. Some of our younger readers may recall that in 1996 Jeff McInnis was the hotheaded starting point guard for the Tar Heels. That version of the Heels was decent, with a nascent Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter as freshmen, but the “star” of the show (at least in his mind) was clearly the junior McInnis.
According to rumors flying around the Triangle area that year, McInnis was more than just a star on the basketball court. You couldn’t go a Harris Teeter in Cary or Hillsborough without hearing that he had procured some extra practice time with assistant coach and Carolina legend Phil Ford’s wife. Duke fans, in all their ribald ingenuity, queried on signs whether Jeff had “driven a Ford lately?” From Josh Levin at Slate:
Sometimes the whispers get so loud that one of the subjects goes public to defend his reputation. In 1996, practically everyone in North Carolina had heard the gossip that University of North Carolina point guard Jeff McInnis had been sleeping with Phil Ford’s wife. In his book A March to Madness, sportswriter John Feinstein delicately alludes to Duke fans razzing McInnis about “personal animosity between him and assistant coach Phil Ford.” As that year’s NBA draft neared, McInnis broke the official silence when he told the Charlotte Observer that Orlando Magic staffers had quizzed him about the allegations that he was leaving school early due to the fallout from an affair with Ford’s wife. His answer: “Nothing ever happened. She is often hugging players. … The Duke people blew the whole thing up.”
That was over a decade ago. Since then Phil Ford had a couple of well-publicized DUIs and was released by the Fiasco Otherwise Known as Matt Doherty, and has spent the last couple of years working in an education fundraising capacity for UNC, and now, the Charlotte Bobcats. So why is this all relevant today?
Well, because now you too can purchase a piece of Phil Ford history (nagging not included)! His 2000 Final Four ring earned as an assistant coach is on Ebay, and it costs five g’s. Mewonders whether McInnis ever spent that much on Mrs. Ford (h/t AOL Fanhouse).