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Catawba College Alumnus Mentored by the late Coach Kirkland

July 12, 2007

Category: Academics, Alumni, Teacher Education


Jack Ward '51

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Jack Ward, a 1951 graduate of Catawba College from Mocksville, is hopeful that a new scholarship established in his name at the institution will give other young people that same opportunity to attend Catawba and be mentored by someone like legendary football Coach Gordon Kirkland.  Preference for the Jack Ward Endowed Scholarship will be given to a student from Davie County or Thomasville High School with an interest in majoring in education with aspirations to work in school administration.

During the 1944-1945 academic year, Ward, who grew up in Thomasville and was one of seven children, came to Catawba on an athletic scholarship to play football for Coach Kirkland. But Ward's college plans were put on hold when he enlisted in the U.S. Army after that first semester.

After he was discharged, Ward returned to Catawba, an older and wiser young man as were many of the veterans on campus at the time, but one committed to completing his college degree and to playing football. He arrived just in time to be part of Catawba's winning team at the 1948 Tangerine Bowl at which the Catawba Indians beat Marshall 7-0.

Ward, who was among four individuals inducted into Catawba's Sports Hall of Fame in April, played four years of football and baseball at Catawba and started every baseball game for four years. After playing professional baseball for two seasons, he served as a teacher and football coach at Coolemee High School. Later, he served 12 years as a football coach and 17 years as athletic director at Davie High School. He also served for 12 years as principal at Davie High School. Ward retired in 1989 as superintendent of the Davie County School System.

The Jack Ward Award, which originated in 1980, is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female athletes at Davie High School. Ward was inducted into the Davie County Hall of Fame in 2006. He was honored by Catawba in 2001 with its Medal of Exemplary Life Service.

Ward and his late wife who died in 1982, Mary Katherine Hart, are the parents of four sons and four grandchildren.