|Organization:||Oklahoma State University|
Gary Ward was the architect of 16 straight Big Eight Conference championships spanning three decades at Oklahoma State University.
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 OSU's World Series appearances (1981-87) were in consecutive years, an NCAA record. The Cowboys also appeared in the NCAA championship game three times under Ward.
He compiled a record of 953-313-1 in 19 seasons in Stillwater, before retiring prior to the 1997 campaign. Ward came out of retirement and was the head coach for two seasons at his alma mater New Mexico State in 2001 and 2002, leading the Aggies to the Sun Belt Tournament championship and an NCAA appearance in 2002. Ward's career record of 1,022-361-1 (.739) is 27th best all-time in terms of win percentage.
Under Ward, 108 OSU players went on to sign professional contracts and nine were named first team All-America, while countless others received second and third team plaudits 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 came to 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 record, a winning percentage of .743. Following his two national championships in 1975 and 1977, Ward was named the NJCAA Coach Of The Year.
His influence and accomplishments extend beyond the playing field at Oklahoma State. Ward was the driving force behind the planning, funding, design and construction of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, and his leadership helped raise the necessary funds for stadium improvements in 1995.
Ward was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Baseball Hall of Fame 2004 and the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.