There might not be another person who’s ever had the dilemma Charlie Ward faced in 1994.
It was a tough call for the Florida State University product. On one hand, he was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. On the other, he loved hooping.
Ward decided to retire the helmet and cleats for sneakers.
It must be nice to be able to choose which sport to go pro in. Although, FSU fans wonder what could’ve been had Ward picked the NFL.
Ward’s playing days have been over for more than a decade now.
Since, he’s taken up coaching, podcasting and even a little acting.
Charlie Ward’s Florida State Career
— Heisman Trophy (1993)
— Maxwell Award (1993)
— Consensus All-American (1993)
— Walter Camp Award (1993)
— Johnny Unitas Award (1993)
— Davey O’Brien Award (1993)
— Sullivan Award (1993)
— Chic Harley Award (1993)
— ACC Offensive Player of the Year (1993)
— 2x ACC Player of the Year
— 2x ACC Athlete of the Year
— Sporting News Player of the Year (1993)
— NCAA National Champion (1993)
— Florida Sports Hall of Fame (1992)Advertisement
On the hardwood, Ward played point guard. He helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament in his first three years on campus. He still holds the school record for career steals with 238. For his college basketball career, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2.6 steals.
Charlie Ward’s NBA Career
Charlie Ward turned down the NFL because he was projected to go in one of the mid-rounds and felt he was deserving of being a first-round draft pick. The New York Knicks made the choice easy when they selected him 26th overall in the 1994 NBA Draft.
Ward was well-liked in NYC and saw his playing time increase when Jeff Van Gundy took over head coaching duties from Pat Riley. He was a starter on the team that rolled through the 1999 playoffs to the NBA Finals.
The basketball player finished his professional career in Texas with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. He retired in 2004 after battling multiple injuries.
In 11 seasons, Ward averaged 6.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in the NBA.
Charlie Ward Now
Following his playing career, Ward was an assistant coach for the Rockets. He then transitioned into prep coaching when he was hired as an assistant for the Westbury Christian School boys basketball team in Houston in 2007. He took over as head coach for the football team in November of that year.
On the home front, Ward and his wife Tonja have three kids: Caleb, Hope and Joshua.
Ward was named the head football coach of Booker T. Washington High School, where his son Caleb was a student and football player, in Pensacola, Florida in 2014.
He went back to coaching hoops when he was named the head basketball coach of Florida State University’s Research School aka “Florida High” in Tallahassee. He was named the All-Big Bend Coach of the Year in March 2021.
Also in March 2021, Ward was appointed to the Tallahassee Community College District Board of Trustees.
In addition to coaching, Ward talks about FSU athletics on his web show “Chalk Talk with Charlie Ward.” He regular appears on sports podcasts and shows.
Ward made an appearance on the small screen by appearing in the Netflix series “Family Reunion.” He played himself in the eighth episode of the second part, which aired in 2020.
The national champion seems to have found his niche as a coach and sports personality.
This post was originally published on April 20, 2021.