Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.
LUBBOCK, TX - The College Baseball Foundation announced New Mexico State assistant baseball coach Gary Ward was named to the 2008 class of the College Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Class, Wednesday, March 05.
Ward joins such names as Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson, infielder, Pasadena Junior College and UCLA; Steve Arlin, pitcher Ohio State; Eddie Bane, pitcher, Arizona State.
"The first feeling I have with this is total humility," Ward said. "You receive an honor like this at it really humbles a person, and of course I am honored for this."
Ward came out of retirement to coach at his alma mater, New Mexico State, and led the Aggies to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2002. He is currently the hitting coach for his son, Rocky Ward.
"To tell you the truth, I would trade this to have another winning program here at NMSU, and we want to establish NMSU as a dominant program," Ward said. "NMSU holds my heart and soul, and right now my focus is to take NMSU to the top."
While the head coach at NMSU, Ward finished with a 75-32 (.700) record to get him of the 1,000 win milestone.
"I am honored to receive this and grateful to be coaching here at NMSU," Ward said.
Ward was Oklahoma State's head baseball coach from 1978 through 1996 and guided the Cowboys to an unprecedented 16 straight conference titles, 17 NCAA regional appearances and 10 trips to the College World Series. Seven of those CWS appearances (1981-87) were in consecutive years, which is an NCAA record. The Cowboys also appeared in the NCAA championship game three times under Ward.
Ward's career record of 1,022-361-1 (.739) is 13th best all-time in winning percentage and 24th in the NCAA record books.
Ward helped Oklahoma State recapture its role among the most respected and well-known programs in the nation. More than 100 of his players at OSU went on to sign professional contracts and nine were named First-Team All-Americans, while countless others received second- and third-team honors during his coaching tenure.
Recognized as a leading authority on hitting, Ward's energetic and enthusiastic approach and demonstrations are still in constant demand at baseball clinics throughout the country. Ward was at Oklahoma State in 1977 after seven successful seasons at Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, Ariz. Yavapai won two national championships and Ward finished with a 240-83 (.743) record. Following his two national championships in 1975 and 1977, Ward was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year.
"You know you spend your entire life involved in the game and there isn't much time to look back," Ward said. "This makes you stop and look back at everything."
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 five rebounds in two seasons.
Ward was inducted into the NMSU Hall of Fame in 1991 for his achievements as an NMSU baseball and basketball player. He is also in the OSU Hall of Fame for his achievements as a coach.
2008 College Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Class
Owen Carroll – pitcher and coach, College of Holy Cross
William J. "Billy" Disch – coach, Sacred Heart College, St. Edward's University and Texas
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson – infielder, Pasedena Junior College, and UCLA
Steve Arlin – pitcher, Ohio State
Eddie Bane – pitcher, Arizona State
Floyd Bannister – pitcher, Arizona State
Neal Heaton – pitcher, Miami
Burt Hooton – pitcher, Texas
Dick Howser – shortstop and coach, Florida State
Ben McDonald – pitcher, Louisiana State
Greg Swindler – pitcher, Texas
Gary Ward – coach, Oklahoma State and New Mexico State