Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
NASHVILLE, TN - New Mexico State assistant baseball coach and alumni Gary Ward was inducted into the America Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame on Jan. 7 during the ABCA's 66th Annual Convention.
This season will be Ward's eighth as a hitting coach and assistant for head coach and son, Rocky Ward. Ward began his stint with the Aggies as top assistant coach in 2000 and was head coach for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
"Induction into the ABCA was appreciated because it represents recognition at the highest level from your peers and it was my eighth Hall of Fame induction with the last two coming from the two foremost national organizations," Ward said. "This puts an exclamation mark on a lifetime of work and I am pleased that it may bring additional attention to New Mexico State University. I had the honor to address the National Convention with an hour of instructional information on developing the college hitter. In addition, my son Rocky was on stage with me as we presented to over 4,000 baseball coaches in attendance. We both wore the NMSU Aggie baseball uniform with great pride"
During his time as head coach, Ward picked up his 1,000 win as head coach, making him only the 24th coach to win 1,000 games. In 2001 the Aggies posted a 32-23 record, which is the most wins the team had since 1995. He was the second winningest active coach in Division 1 baseball. In 2002 Ward led the Aggies to a Sun Belt Tournament Championship and an NCAA appearance. He finished the 2002 season with a career record of 1,022-361-1, which ranks him No.24 on the NCAA all-time wins list.
Before coaching at NM State, Ward was the head coach at Oklahoma State University for 19 seasons (1978-96). He led Oklahoma State to 17 NCAA Regional appearances (16 of which were consecutive from 1981-96), 17 Big Eight Championships (16 of which were consecutive also) and two Big Eight Western Division titles. During Ward's time at Oklahoma State, the team also took 10 trips to the College World Series, earned a record seven consecutive College World Series berths (1981-87) and were the national runners up in 1981, 1987, and 1990. Ward helped the Cowboys to acquire 18 40-win seasons. All 18 teams were ranked nationally at the end of the season and 12 teams finished in Baseball America's Top 10. Ward ended his time at Oklahoma State with a 953-313-1 record for 19 seasons. More than 100 of his players at OSU went on to sign professional contracts and nine were named first-team All-Americans.
Ward was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame July 4, 2008 in Lubbock, Texas for his accomplishments as a collegiate coach. During his coaching career, he coached 58 total All-Americans (first, second and third team), 15 of which were named first team.
Ward competed in both baseball and basketball at NM State 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 to the NM State's Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as an athlete.
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 degree from NM State in 1968. Ward has been married to the former Catherine Gardner for 45 years. Ward has three children, Rocky, Roger and Sherri.
2011 American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductees
Harry Tholen - Santa Fe College (Fla)
Gary Ward - New Mexico State University (N.M.)
Lou Yacinich - Grand View University (Iowa)
Jim Hall - Lockport High School (Ill.)
Marc Johnson - Cherry Creek High School (Colo.)
Mike Sheppard, Sr. - Seton Hall University (N.J.)