For the English cricketer, see Brian Ward (cricketer).
Brian Ward
Current position
TitleDefensive coordinator
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year(2002)

CollegeFanz National Coach of the Year(2009) Footballscoop Coach of the Year Finalist-Linebackers(2015)

Broyles Award Nominee(2017)

Brian Ward is an American football coach. He is the defensive coordinator at Syracuse University, a position he has held since January 2016. Ward served as the head football coach at McPherson College from 2007 to 2009 and as the interim head football coach at Bowling Green State University for one game in 2015, compiling a career college football record of 17–15. His awards include 2002 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year, 2009 CollegeFanz NAIA National Coach of the Year, 2015 Footballscoop Coach of the Year Finalist-Linebackers, and in 2017 was a Broyles Award nominee.

Coaching careerEdit

Ward was the head football coach at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. He held that position for three seasons, from 2007 until 2009. His coaching record at McPherson was 17–14.[1]

Ward was named the 2009 College Fanz National Coach of the Year after taking his team to the NAIA national playoffs for the first time in the history of the program.[2]

In 2010 Ward left for North Dakota State University and Head Coach Craig Bohl to coach the Defensive Backs where he helped lead the Bison from a 3-8 record in 2009, to a National Quarterfinal appearance in 2010. In 2011, Ward became the Defensive Coordinator at Drake University reuniting him with former boss Chris Creighton. He led the defense to a #7 national ranking in Total Defense and #2 rank nationally in rushing defense in FCS, and a 2011 Pioneer League Championship. From 2012-2014 he led the defense at Western Illinois University under Bob Nielsen. Highlights from during his time as defensive coordinator at WIU include finishing #6 Nationally in Total Defense, #7 in Passing Defense, and #4 in Yards per Play in FCS in 2013.

In 2014 in a 37-3 against Wisconsin, Wards defense held Wisconsin to 7 points in the 1st half, and held Heisman Trophy Runner-up Melvin Gordon to 38 yards rushing on 18 attempts. It would be Gordons lowest rushing total in his college career. In February 2015 Head Football coach Dino Babers of Bowling Green State University hired Ward to be the Defensive Coordinator. In 2015, BGSU would finish the season 10-4 and in the process beat 2 Big Ten Teams on the road (Maryland, Purdue), win the MAC East Championship, and ultimately win the MAC championship outright by besting Northern Illinois 35-14 in the MAC Championship game. Following the game, Babers would depart for Syracuse and Ward would end up joining him after serving as the Interim Head Coach in a loss to Georgia Southern 58-25 in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, AL.

Some have argued that Ward's 'Tampa-2' defensive scheme has been a disaster for the Syracuse football team,[3] having allowed all-time program records in 2016 for yards against (849, Louisville),[4] and points against (76, Pitt),.[5] Many Syracuse fans are calling for Ward's replacement. It has been a rocky 2 years for Ward's defense filled with highs and lows. It has been filed with high's like the Orange defense holding the 2017 ACC Coastal Division Champions Virginia Tech to 17 points in a win to the debacles against Louisville and Pitt. In 2018 the Orange Defense was ranked as high as #1 in 3rd Down Defense going into week 10, and held #2 Clemson to a 2 year low (17 offensive points) in a week 7 win. Going into the week #10 game against Wake Forest, the Orange defense was the most improved defense in Power 5 football in Total, Scoring, and 3rd down defense. For this Ward was selected as a nominee for the 2017 Frank Broyles award which goes to the Nations Top Division One Assistant. was tainted by a horrendous finish in the final 3 games in home losses against Wake Forest and Boston College, along with a road loss at Louisville.


Ward and his wife Amy are advocates and chairpersons for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Their daughter Ellie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2010. Ward is also a former professional boxer with a career record of 1-0, which followed an extensive Amateur career. Ward married his wife Amy (Brandseth) in 1995, and they have 3 children (Travis, Ellie, Erin).


External linksEdit

Template:McPherson Bulldogs football coach navbox

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.