Craig Ward, Ouachita Baptist University’s men’s tennis head coach, has been named the 2012 Jim Verdieck College Coach of the Year by the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). The award comes just days after the OBU Tigers men’s tennis team was named the preseason favorite to win the inaugural Great American Conference championship.
Ward said he was honored to receive the award. “Jim Verdieck was a man of impeccable character and professionalism,” he noted. “I am very flattered to receive this award. It is a reflection of the friends, family and players I have learned from over the years.”
Ward has more than 250 wins during his tenure as the head coach of the men’s tennis program at Ouachita. He has coached 24 All-America players, 31 Academic All-America players and six Academic All-Americ Teams. He also has led his team to No. 1 in the national rankings twice and competed in the NCAA Division II Final Four twice. Ward’s Tigers have also finished the season 12 times with a national Top 10 ranking. In 2004, the Tigers were awarded the National Team Sportsmanship Award by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Ward also has been named Intercollegiate National Coach of the Year and USPTA College Coach of the Year in previous years. He is a member of the Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame and was named PTR Arkansas Member of the Year while also receiving the National USTA/ITA Community Service Award.
According to Ouachita President Rex Horne, “Craig Ward is a great asset to our men’s tennis team but also to our entire university. His years of service have built both great teams and fine men. We all congratulate Craig on an award that is richly deserved.”
PTR’s mission statement says, “PTR is the largest global organization of tennis teaching professionals with more than 14,000 members in 117 countries. It has the greatest percentage of multicultural and women members of any such organization. PTR is dedicated to educating, certifying and servicing tennis teachers and coaches around the world in order to grow the game.”
The Coach of the Year award will be presented to Ward during the 2012 PTR National Symposium on Feb. 24-28 in Orlando, Fla.
By Josh Fink, Sports Information Director