FSU QBs: Where Are They Now?
Former Seminole Quarterbacks Tell Us What They’re Up to Now
(page 2 of 8)
Charlie Ward (1990–1994)
From Heisman to the NBA
Charlie Ward will go down as one of the best college quarterbacks to never play a down in the National Football League. He will most likely be the only player in college football history to win a Heisman one year and be drafted into the NBA the next. It’s been almost 20 years since Ward won his straight-arm statue and National Championship ring with the ’Noles, and still people ask him why he never played in the NFL. But after an 11-year career playing in the NBA and another few years coaching, Ward returned to the gridiron as the head football coach at Westbury Christian School in Houston, a job he’s had now for five years.
“After I finished playing, I wasn’t quite sure what God had in store for me,” Ward said. “All I knew was coaching or sports, so I ended up getting into coaching and this opportunity where I am was presented to me after my coaching career in the NBA was over.”
Despite living in Texas, Ward continues to stay close to his roots, spending a good deal of time in his hometown of Thomasville mentoring kids and teaching both basketball and football. His professional playing career may be over, but the Heisman winner said he knew very quickly that teaching was his calling.
“Getting a chance to be a mentor more than anything else is what I love,” Ward said. “A lot of the kids are searching and in need of men being able to have an influence on young people through sports. Like a lot of people that I’ve come in contact with over my years of being an athlete, I’ve had great men help get me where I am today — and a lot of those guys were coaches. That’s one aspect; also being able to facilitate and bring guys on to be mentors to our kids as well.”
Ward says his defining moment at Florida State would have to be the 1993 National Championship, but he had so many great memories in Tallahassee that it’s hard to pinpoint one over another.
“All of my playing days, the good and the bad, they all go hand-in-hand,” Ward said. “My first few games from a turnover standpoint (were) disastrous, but it gave me great experience and I’m grateful that I could continue to play after those experiences. Having an opportunity to be there for my teammates during my years, growing together from freshman to senior year was great. It was all a great experience with football and basketball. Go to the NCAA Tournament, ACC Tournament, win a Metro Championship … there are a lot of great experiences that make me smile.”
These days, Ward lives in Houston with his wife, Tonja, and three children, Caleb, 12; Hope, 9 and Joshua, 3. His team at Westbury isn’t where he’d like them to be. After four seasons, Ward’s record is 18-22, but his value to the school reaches far beyond wins and losses. Charlie Ward’s legacy will always be remembered at FSU with his retired jersey, his retired locker and the highlight reel that plays on televisions across the country.