On July 4th, 2008 former Oklahoma State and New Mexico State head coach and current New Mexico State assistant head coach Gary Ward was inducted into the 2008 College Baseball Foundation Hall of Fame. Gary coached at Oklahoma State from 1978 to 1996 and at New Mexico State from 2001 to 2002. He led OSU to 16 straight conference titles, 17 NCAA regional appearances and 10 trips to the College World Series. He compiled a record of 953-313-1 in 19 seasons in Stillwater. In 2002, he led New Mexico State to a Sun Belt Tournament Championship and an NCAA appearance. He finished with a career record of 1,022-361-1, which ranks 24th on the NCAA all-time wins list. (A full bio is available at the end of this page)
Gary and Rocky Ward talk with Sam Wasson of bleedCrimson.net on March 6th, 2008 about the announcement that Gary would be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Photos (Courtesy of Rocky Ward)
Biography (Courtesy of NMSU Media Relations)
Gary Ward returns to New Mexico State University for his fifth year to be an assistant for his son Rocky Ward. Gary is the hitting coach for the Aggies and brings an extensive amount of experience to the team. This is his second stint as an assistant coach. He served as the Aggies’ top assistant in 2000 after being out of coaching for three years.
Ward formerly coached the Aggies as in 2001 and 2002 and picked up his 1,000th win as a head coach while with NMSU. In 2001 the Aggies posted a 32-23 record, the program’s most wins since 1995. During that stint as a head coach, Ward was the second winningest active coach in Division I baseball, the sixth winningest of all-time and the 24th coach to get 1,000 wins.
Ward, who was a former baseball and basketball star for NMSU, led Oklahoma State to 10 College World Series appearances in 19 seasons as head coach (1978-96). His OSU teams earned a record seven consecutive CWS berths from 1981-87 and were national runners-up in 1981, 1987, and 1990. The Cowboys qualified for 17 regionals, including 16 in a row from 1981-96 under Ward. He led OSU to 17 Big Eight championships and two Big Eight Western Division titles in 19 years. Ward also led them to 16 consecutive conference championships. Included in his tenure at OSU were 18 40-win seasons. All 18 of those teams were ranked nationally at the end of the season. Twelve of his teams finished in Baseball America’s top-10.
Ward coached 14 first-team All-Americans and a total of 56 (first, second and third teams). Among players coached by Ward were Robin Ventura, 1988 Golden Spikes Award winner and Baseball America’s Player of the Decade for the 1980’s, and Pete Incaviglia, the NCAA’s career home run leader and Baseball America’s Player of the Century.
Before he coached at OSU, he served as head coach of Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, Ariz. from 1971-77, where he led the school to national championships in 1975 and 1977 and earned NJCAA Coach of the Year both years. Yavapai went 240-83 under Ward. He also served as an assistant basketball coach there from 1969-75.
From 1963-69, Ward was the head baseball and basketball coach at Collinsville (Okla.) High School, posting a 99-40 mark over six seasons on the diamond. He was also an assistant football coach there. During the 1962-63 season, he served as a graduate assistant baseball coach at NMSU as well as the school’s freshman basketball head coach.
Ward competed in both baseball and basketball at NMSU from 1960-62 and played two seasons of baseball under Presley Askew. During the 1960 season he led the team in win-loss record as a pitcher and ERA. He also played basketball under Askew and averaged 9.2 points and 5 rebounds in two seasons. Ward was inducted to the New Mexico State University’s Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as an athlete.
Prior to playing for NMSU, Ward played baseball and basketball at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. At Romona (Okla.) High School, Ward competed three years in baseball, basketball and track.
Ward has produced a number of baseball instructional videotapes that have been sold all around the world. At Oklahoma State, he was founder and director of the Mid-America All-Star Baseball School in Stillwater. More than 1,000 amateur baseball players attend the camp annually.
Ward was born Sept. 9, 1940 in Ramona, Okla. He graduated from Ramona High in 1958 and from New Mexico State in 1963. He earned his master’s from NMSU in 1968. Ward has been married to the former Catherine Gardner for 42 years. Ward has three children, Rocky, Roger and Sherri.