“After a comprehensive and robust national search that garnered tremendous interest, we are thrilled to welcome Matt Ward as our next leader of Lion Golf,” McMurray said. “His energy, player development philosophy, and ability to build meaningful student-athlete relationships were among the qualities that stood out to our search committee throughout the process.
“In particular, I commend Deputy Athletics Director Judy Sackfield and Associate Vice President/Dean of Students Dr. Thomas Newsom for their invaluable leadership in this process. The best days for Lion Golf are in front of us.”
Ward comes to the Lions from Colorado Mesa University, where has served as head men’s golf coach since 2014. In his time with the Mavericks, Ward’s teams consistently improved in the conference, regional, and national rankings on the course, while also succeeding in the community and in the classroom.
“Matt Ward brings experience and passion to our golf programs,” said Deputy Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success, Senior Woman Administrator, and golf administrator Judy Sackfield. “I have no doubt his recruiting and training philosophy will help the programs reach unprecedented heights. His attitude of collaboration along with a winning mentality attracted our search committee to him.”
Ward’s CMU teams qualified an individual for the NCAA Division II Super Regional Tournament in three of his four seasons at the helm. The team earned the Golf Coaches Association of America’s All-Academic Team President’s Special Recognition Award in two seasons and had six GCAA All-America Scholars.
“I’d like to thank Tim McMurray, Judy Sackfield, Dr. Thomas Newsom, and President Keck for the opportunity to work at A&M-Commerce. I am very much looking forward to being a part of the proud Lion family,” Ward said. “This is a special place, a tremendous academic institution with an elite athletic department, excellent facilities, and a department full of exceptional coaches and administrators. I look forward to building upon the recent Lion Golf success and am excited about the potential of both the men’s and women’s golf teams to be nationally competitive very soon.”
Ward’s Maverick teams improved their scoring average by over 15 strokes per tournament in his final season in Grand Junction, Colo., ranking in the top 80 teams in the nation after ranking outside the top 115 three seasons prior. The Maverick golfers also had their athletics department’s top grade point average throughout Ward’s tenure. Ward was also a lecturer in the kinesiology department at Colorado Mesa University while coaching.
Ward has been involved with the game of golf in several different capacities for more than 20 years. His first coaching position was an assistant with the men’s and women’s golf programs at Jamestown College (N.D.). Ward also spent two years as an assistant women’s golf coach at Minnesota State, helping the Mavericks qualify for the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships.
In addition to his coaching experience, Ward has worked as teaching professional at several golf courses, a professional caddy, and in sales with Taylor Made Golf. He was a guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota and taught community education programs in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area.
Ward earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies from the University of Minnesota after serving in the United State Air Force. He has earned a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota and completed a Master of Science Degree in Sports Management from Minnesota State.