March 13, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio head coach Frank Solich announced today that former Nevada defensive backs coach James Ward has joined the Bobcat Football staff as the program's cornerbacks coach.
Ward, who spent the past five seasons at Nevada, replaces former Ohio assistant Fred Reed, who was named the defensive backs coach at Syracuse University.
"We are very excited to have James join our coaching staff as our new cornerbacks coach," Solich said. "He is an experienced coach, who understands what it takes to get players to succeed at the highest level. I think our players will look forward to working with him."
The past two years have seen two of Ward's pupils - Doyle Miller and Isaiah Frey - go on the NFL as Miller spent time with two teams in 2011 and Frey was a sixth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2012. Frey was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection over the past two seasons.
This past season, Ward's defensive backs held opponents to an average of just 182.4 yards per game. In addition, Wolfpack senior Duke Williams finished 2012 seventh in the WAC with 106 tackles en route to being named All-League Second Team. Williams 106 stops were the most in the league among all defensive backs. Former players Khalid Wooten and Charles Garrett also posted strong 2012 campaigns as the ranked second and tied for sixth in the WAC for pass breakups.
"I could not be more excited to work with the Ohio University football team," Ward said. "This team has experienced a tremendous amount of success for some time now. This is a great opportunity and I look forward to being a part of this program."
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. In 2011, the Wolf Pack recorded 15 interceptions and allowed just a 48.3 percent completion percentage.
Ward came to 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. He will work with Nevada's cornerbacks this 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.
He also worked part of the 2007 season with the NFL's Houston Texans as a coaching intern.