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GSW’s Ward to retire after 14 seasons as head softball coach

From STAFF REPORTS

AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) head softball coach, Eddie Ward, recently announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Ward has been at the helm of the Lady Hurricanes program for 14 seasons after spending one year as an assistant coach in 2003.
“Softball has been a part of my life for a long, long time,” Ward said. “It’s been absolutely terrific. I can’t thank Randolph Barksdale enough for giving me the opportunity to coach here.”
Ward recently reached a coaching milestone when he picked up his 300th victory.
“The Hurricane family thanks Coach Ward for his years of dedicated service to, investment in, and commitment to the university, the department, his coaches and student-athletes,” GSW athletic director Mike Leeder said. “We wish Eddie all the best in the future.”
The Lady Hurricanes made school history late in the 2009 season when they won the university’s first NCAA Division II postseason game in any team sport, an opening round victory in the Peach Belt Conference tournament. Since GSW made the jump from NAIA to NCAA in 2006-07, Ward has coached seven PBC weekly award winners, 10 all-conference honorees, and 18 all-academic performers.
“To watch these girls mature and move on,” Ward said. “It’s amazing the number of (former) players that I have now who have children that are eight, nine, and ten years old. It’s been very rewarding.”
Ward is a 1970 graduate of Therrell High School in Atlanta. He graduated from Georgia Southwestern in 1974 with a B.S. in Education. While at GSW, Ward played baseball for the Hurricanes for two years. He was also a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and Past Archon Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
“This university has been a part of my life for 47 years,” Ward said.
Ward is married to Betty Anne Scifres and has two daughters, Julie Anne Usher and Christie Ward.
A retirement celebration for Coach Ward and reunion of former GSW players will be held on Sunday, April 2, when the Lady Hurricanes host Armstrong State University at 1 p.m. The day before (April 1) is Senior Day for the softball team with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Flagler College.
“I’m going to miss the kids,” Ward said. “They’ve kept me young. It’s been a whole lot of fun.”
A national search for his replacement will begin in April.