Ward during his head coaching tenure at Colorado
|Sport(s)||Football, basketball, baseball|
August 11, 1906|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
Dallas "Dal" Ward (August 11, 1906 – February 1983) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1948 to 1958, compiling a career record of 63–41–6 in 11 seasons. Over the course of the 1953 and 1954 seasons, Ward's Colorado Buffaloes football teams won nine consecutive games. Ward grew up in Lexington, Oregon on a ranch and played college football at Oregon State University in the 1920s, where he started every game of his collegiate career.
Ward held membership in five honorary societies, including Phi Kappa Phi. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. The CU athletic administration center, located at the north end of Folsom Field, was named after him. As of 2007, Ward is one of only three multi-sport inductees in the hall of fame at Oregon State, where he was inducted in 1997. He earned eight vasity letters: three for football and twice each for baseball and basketball, and was a captain in all three sports.
After graduation from Oregon State, Ward taught in Minneapolis and became head coach at Marshall High in 1928, helped with a letter of recommendation written by Knute Rockne. In 1936, Ward joined the staff at the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach. During World War II, he served as officer-in-charge of physical and military training at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas. After the war, he returned to Minnesota as backfield coach.
Ward became the head coach at Colorado in 1948, succeeding James J. Yeager. In his first two seasons, his teams won three games each for a 6–13 record, but those were his only losing seasons. Following the 1956 regular season, his team won the Orange Bowl, Colorado's second (1938 Cotton Bowl being their first) bowl game, over Clemson, 27–21. After winning the season-ending bowl game, Ward was offered the head coaching positions at the University of Southern California and the University of Minnesota, but declined those offers, believing the next few years with the Buffaloes would be even better. However, they did not turn out as hoped, and, on January 23, 1959, Ward was asked to resign by the university's Board of Regents but refused. The Regents reconsidered their actions, but amid many letters of protest mailed in, the original decision was kept and Ward was fired. Although no official reason was stated, it was widely believed Ward was relieved because of his inability to defeat the Oklahoma; his career record against the Sooners was 0–8–1. His 1952 team did tie Oklahoma, 21–21, in Boulder in the season opener, earning him UPI Coach of the Week honors. He retired from coaching after his firing.
Ward is credited with bringing the Colorado Buffaloes football program to national prominence in the 1950s. As of 2007, Ward is ranked third at Colorado in total number of games coached, fourth in total wins, and sixth in conference wins.
Later life and death
Ward had earned tenure as a CU faculty member in 1956. He chose to stay at Colorado and teach. He and his wife Jane and their five children remained in Boulder, Colorado where Ward died of cancer in February 1983.
Head coaching record
|Colorado Buffaloes (Big Seven/Big Eight Conference) (1948–1958)|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- "History". Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
- "Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame". Oregon State University. 2005-09-14. Retrieved 2007-02-15.[dead link]
- "OSU Sports History Minute". Oregon State University Alumni Association. 2005-05-21. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
- Lucile Peck (1991). "Dallas Ward". Morrow County Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-02-15.