The Bobcat TV crew wired the Bobcats' new cornerbacks coach James Ward for sound and sat down to get his philosophy on coaching a group of young men.
-20 of Ward's former players have gone on to earn professional contracts.
-Has coached four All-Americans.
-Has coached 23 all-conference players.
-Participated in the 2011 NCAA expert coaches forum.
-2002 AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year.
-Has coached in nine bowl games.
James Ward is in his first season as the cornerbacks coach at Ohio University.
Ward arrives in Athens after he spent the past five seasons at the University of Nevada. He replaces former Ohio assistant Fred Reed, who was named the defensive backs coach at Syracuse University following the 2012 season.
During his five seasons in Reno, Ward coached six players that would go on to sign professional contracts. In 2013, two of Ward's former pupils - Duke Williams (fourth round, Buffalo Bills) and Khalid Wooten (sixth round, Tennessee Titans) - were selected in the NFL Draft. In addition, Ward coached in five bowl games during his time at Nevada, including the 2008 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, 2009 Sheraton Aloha Bowl, 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, 2011 Hawaii Bowl and the 2012 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
In 2012, Nevada began its first season in the Mountain West Conference (MWC). Despite the change in conferences, Ward's defensive backs still remained effective in the pass-happy MWC as the Wolf Pack ranked fifth in pass defense efficiency, holding opponents to an efficiency rating of 132.6. In addition, Williams finished seventh in the MWC with 106 tackles en route to being named All-MWC Second Team. Williams 106 stops were the most in the league among all defensive backs.
Wooten and Charles Garrett also posted strong 2012 campaigns as they ranked second and tied for sixth in the MWC for pass breakups. Following the 2012 season, Wooten took part in the East-West Shrine game and earned an invitation to the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
In 2011, the Wolf Pack recorded 15 interceptions and allowed just a 48.3 percent completion percentage. Nevada also held opponents to just 145.5 passing yards per game, which ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference. Following the year, Isaiah Frey would go on to earn All-WAC honors after he led the nation in passes defensed (21) and was second in the conference in interceptions (5). Frey would also go on to earn All-America honors from Sports Illustrated and was later drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears.
Following the 2011 season, Ward participated in the NCAA Expert Coaches Forum.
After a 2009 season in which Nevada was ninth in the conference in pass defense, Nevada moved up to fifth in 2010. The Pack also reduced the number of passing touchdowns allowed from 33 TDs in 13 games in 2009 to 15 TDs in 14 games in 2010 as Nevada posted its most successful season at the Division I-A level. Following the year, Frey earned his first all-conference honor from the WAC.
Ward arrived at Nevada after five seasons as the defensive backs coach at Colorado State, where the Rams' secondary ranked in the upper tier of the Mountain West Conference each season.
At Colorado State, Ward coached all-conference defensive back Dexter Wynn, now with the NFL's Houston Texans, and four other All-MWC players. He helped the Rams to a pair of bowl game appearances - the 2003 San Francisco Bowl and the 2005 San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Ward previously worked at Idaho State from 1999-2003, including the last couple of years as the Bengals' defensive coordinator. In 2003, Ward helped Idaho State to a Big Sky Conference championship and was named the AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year. During the 2002 season, the Bengals led the Big Sky in scoring defense and boasted a school-record with 10 All-Conference players. During three of Ward's seasons at Idaho State, the school had the conference's interception leader.
He began his coaching career in 1995 at the University of Puget Sound before moving on to Washington State in 1997 as a graduate assistant.
During his two seasons at Puget Sound, Ward's defensive backs helped led the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges in Pass Defense in both 1995 and 1996. At Washington State, the Cougars routinely ranked among the Pacific 10 Conference leaders in pass defense. In 1997, the Cougars featured the PAC-10's top pass defense as WSU earned a spot in the 1998 Rose Bowl.
He also worked part of the 2007 season with the NFL's Houston Texans as a coaching intern.
He and his wife, Marissa, have a daughter, Annalise.