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November 08, 2023
@ 12:00 pm ET
A Career in Professional Sports
Coach Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward, Jr. is a husband, father, mentor and coach who embodies the principles of integrity, hard work and faith in God. He inspires adults and youth alike with his character and how he shows up in the world. Described as a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and human being, Charlie’s commitment to serve others is deeply respected in the sports community and far beyond. His calm demeanor and powerful leadership message of preparation, perseverance and patience set strong examples for business leaders, organizations, students and families. He continues to be highly sought after for his motivating and inspiring “Chalk Talk” keynote addresses and workshops, which he has presented around the world to teams, churches, organizations, conferences and businesses. Listed among the most outstanding college athletes in modern history, Charlie, a two-sport athlete, was a stellar quarterback in football and an equally impressive point guard in basketball at Florida State University (FSU). During his senior year, he won over 30 awards, including the Heisman Trophy, and set 19 school and seven Atlantic Coast Conference records, subsequently leading the FSU Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship under legendary Coach Bobby Bowden. After graduating from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Charlie was drafted twice by Major League Baseball and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks. He went on to play for the Knicks, helping the team consistently reach the playoffs six consecutive years from 1996 to 2001. He played eleven seasons as a leading point guard in the NBA in New York, San Antonio, and Houston, and served as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for two years. Throughout his professional athletic career, Charlie coached and mentored students, and is now using this experience as a full-time high school basketball coach at Florida State University High School in Tallahassee, Florida. The team’s 2020–2021 season ended with an astonishing 19-2 record, and Coach Ward won the 2021 All-Big Bend Coach of the Year award. In March 2022, Coach Ward was named the All-Big Bend Coach of the Year for a second consecutive year after leading his team to win the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A Championship — earning Florida High its first state Boys Basketball title since 1963. In October 2022, Charlie was inducted as a member of the inaugural class for the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame. He is the subject of the biography "The Athlete: Greatness, Grace and the Unprecedented Life of Charlie Ward," by Jon Finkel, as well as ESPN's ACC Network documentary, "Twice As Nice - The Legend of Charlie Ward," which chronicles his two-sport career as a studentathlete at FSU. Charlie Ward is a man whose greatness and grace know no bounds. He and his wife Tonja have been married for over 25 years, and they have three children, Caleb, Hope and Joshua. The Wards underwrote and produced youth development sports camps throughout the country from 1996–2006, co-produced youth music & sports events with Christian Athletes United for Spiritual Empowerment (CAUSE) at four NBA All-Star Weekends 2001–2004 and continued to quietly donate funds to churches and schools. In 2015, they established a charitable foundation, now The Charlie and Tonja Ward Family Foundation, to leave a legacy of giving back by supporting disaster relief efforts and youth character development through sports and the arts, and sharing Charlie’s inspirational message of embracing the process that leads to success.

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For information about participating as a guest speaker or having your class participate, please email Ralph Krauss