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, Ward’s commitment to serving 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, Ward, 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, Ward 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, Ward 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.
Charlie Ward Jr. 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 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 youth development programs and organizations, providing disaster relief support, supporting student-athletes, and sharing Ward’s inspirational message of embracing the process that leads to success.