Florida State’s legendary 1993 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Charlie Ward, who also played point guard in the NBA for 11 years with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, is returning to Tallahassee.
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The head football coach at Pensacolas Booker T. Washington High School for the past four years, he’s returning to the city where he thrilled the Seminoles faithful to serve as the head basketball coach Florida High School.
Ive played 11 years of (NBA) basketball and coached two, Ward told the Tallahassee Democrat. Ive been coaching football for the past nine years. Its a bit of a change, but Ive been helping out with Booker behind the scenes.
Ward spent nine seasons with the New York Knicks, having been drafted by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. But he also had four coaches during that span, including six seasons with Jeff Van Gundy.
Van Gundy later brought Ward to Houston and helped him get his coaching start.
Ward also spent a half a season with the San Antonio Spurs and their superb coach Greg Popovich.
The things Pop did in practice was very good developmental wise, Ward told the Democrat. Im reserved, but I can raise my voice it is a gym. Im more reserved in basketball than football.
I played differently than I act. Thats how Ill coach my guys to play with intensity, play for one another, be a good teammate, play your role, and everyone has to play good team defense. That was my M.O.
Box Score – Miami Heat (83) vs. New York Knicks (91) – May 14, 2000
They have some young talent, and the key to anything is experience and maturation, Ward said. The one thing they all have to learn is talent alone doesnt provide success. I just want to instill in them the work ethic and what they need.
Cant take shortcuts. Give them a sense of pride being able to compete at a high level. It wont be easy, but nothing in life is easy. Coach McNeil did a great job with them. Ill just continue to build upon what he established.