Ward only Native lacrosse coach for major college

BY STACIE BOSTON
Multimedia Reporter
02/28/2013 08:21 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Marty Ward, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Florida Southern College men’s lacrosse coach, instructs his team in a 2011 home game against Pfiefer in Lakeland, Fla. ANDY MENG/STAGESHOT PHOTOGRAPHY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Marty Ward, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Florida Southern College men’s lacrosse coach, huddles his team for coaching advice in a 2011 home game against Pfiefer in Lakeland, Fla. ANDY MENG/STAGESHOT PHOTOGRAPHY
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Marty Ward, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team at Florida Southern College, is a Cherokee Nation, Iroquois citizen and the only Native American head lacrosse coach at a major university in the country.

Ward enters his third season as head coach for FSC in Lakeland with an 18-12 overall record in his first two seasons.

Under Ward, the Moccasins have posted back-to-back winning seasons and reached the Deep South Conference Championship both years.

The Mocs finished the 2012 season receiving votes in the final United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches Poll after posting a 10-6 overall record and 6-2 mark in the conference championship. The year was highlighted by a six-game win streak at the end of the season going into the conference title game where Ward’s team lost.

The Syracuse, N.Y., native said it’s an honor being one of the first Native American lacrosse head coach in the NCAA.

“My heritage has helped me embody the kind of man, the kind of husband, the kind of son, the kind of brother that I want to be,” Ward said. “It’s made me find myself a little bit…understand that I give thanks to everything, every day.”

Ward said he remembers playing lacrosse his whole life and could not think of anything that suits him more.
“Lacrosse is a way of life,” he said.

This past summer, Ward served as an assistant coach served for the Iroquois Nationals Under-19 Program that won a bronze medal at the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 World Championships in Turku, Finland.

He is also set to play goalie for the Iroquois Nationals at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship in Denver, a position he played in 2006 for the team. Ward said playing for the Iroquois team and just to be able to wear the Iroquois jersey on the field is an honor.

“The Iroquois National team represents the creators of the game lacrosse,” he said. “As it being a Native game, this was really a special honor for me playing with them in (20)06.”

The Iroquois Nationals are the first Native American lacrosse team to compete on an international level. The team consists of players from the six nations of the Iroquois. In 1998, the team began competing in the World Lacrosse Championship.

However, after the 2014 world tournament, Ward said he plans to focus more on the sport’s coaching side.

“This is going to be my last world games to play in as a player,” he said. “I’m more in the coaching realm now than the playing realm. So this is my last opportunity to get out there and compete for a medal with the Iroquois Nationals team.”

In 2012, he served as an Iroquois Nationals assistant coach. At the World Lacrosse Championship, the team beat the United States team for the first time, a great accomplishment considering it was Team USA’s second loss in 40 matches for the year.

In college, Ward played goalkeeper at Limestone College in South Carolina. He posted a 55-9 career record at the school and was a two-time team captain.

In 2008, he served as a Limestone College student assistance coach before being hired as lacrosse coach in 2009 at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in S.C.

stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org


918-453-5000 ext. 5903

ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – Marty Ward, ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᏗᏘᏂᏙ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ lacrosse ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᎾᎿ Florida Southern ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ, Iroquois ᎠᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎤᏍᎪᎵᏴ lacrosse ᏗᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏂᎬᎢ.

Ward ᎤᏴᏢ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎢᏁ ᏓᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᏗᏘᏂᏙ FSC ᎾᎿ Lakeland ᎾᎿ 18-12 ᏂᎦᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏧᏃᏪᎳ ᎤᏂᎾᎥᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏧᏓᏁᏟᏴᏓ.

Ward ᏓᏘᏁᎲ, ᎾᏍᎩ Moccasins ᎤᏬᏪᎳ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏗᎬᎦᏔ ᏚᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏭᏂᎷᏨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᏓᎾᏠᏍᎬ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏨᏔᏅ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏚᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ.

Mocs ᎤᏂᏍᏆ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏓᎩᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏁᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏙᏅ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ᏓᏘᏂᏙᎰ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎪᏪᎶᏗ 10-6 ᏂᎦᏓ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏚᏂᎾᎥ ᎠᎴ 6-2 ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏛ ᎠᏍᎪᎲᏍᏔᏅ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᏂᏙᎲ ᎾᎿ Ward’s ᎤᎾᏙᏢ ᎤᏂᏲᏎᎸᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ Syracuse, N.Y., ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᎤᏛᏅ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᏗᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎾᎿ NCAA.

“ᎾᎿ ᏗᏆᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᎩᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᏯᏆᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᏍᎦᏯ, ᏄᏍᏛ ᏯᏆᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏆᏓᎵ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᎾ, ᏥᏧᏥ ᎠᏆᏛᏏᏗᏒ, ᏄᏍᏛ ᏯᏆᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏦᏍᏓᏓᏅᏟ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ward. “ᎠᏆᏓᏩᏛᎭ ᎠᏮᏌ…….ᎠᏉᎵᏣ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᏂᏚᏙᏓᏈᏒᎢ,”

Ward ᎤᏛᏅ ᎠᏅᏓᏗᏍᎪ ᏚᏁᎶᏅ ᎠᎳᏍᎦᎸᏗ ᎤᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎬᏩᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎬᏩᏰᎸᏓ. “ᎠᎳᏍᎦᎶᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴᏂᏓᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ.

ᎯᎠ ᎪᎦ ᏧᏓᎦᎶᎯ, Ward ᎠᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᏘᏂᏙ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ Iroquois ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏝ 19 ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒ bronze medal ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ Federation of Internation ᎠᎳᏍᎦᎶᏗ U-19 ᏒᎶᎯ ᎤᏍᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ Turku, Finland.

ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗ ᏧᏁᎶᏗ goalie ᎾᎿ Iroqois ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᎳᏍᎦᎶᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ Ꮎ Denver, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎦᏙᎩ ᏧᏚᏁᎶᏅ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ. Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏓᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ Iroquois ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏄᏬᏍᏗᎢ Iroquois ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏄᏬ ᎾᎿ ᏠᎨᏏ ᏂᏛᎴᏗ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ Iroquois ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᏃᏢᏅ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ,” ᎤᏛᏅ. “ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎤᎾᎳᎦᎦᎶᏗ, ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᏤᏟᏓ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᏗᎨᎳᏗᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ (20)06.”
ᎾᏍᎩ Iroquois ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏕ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᏂᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᎾᏩᏙᏢ ᎾᎿ Iroquois. ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏐᏁᎳᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎪ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ.

ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏃᎾ, ᎣᏂᏃ Ꮎ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏙ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ, Ward ᎤᏛᏅ ᏚᏭᎪᏛ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎢᏗᏝ.

“ᎯᎠ ᏃᏊ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏗ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎬᎢ, Ward ᎤᏛᏅ ᏚᏭᎪᏛ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ.
“ᎯᎢᏃ ᎣᏂ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ “ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎾᏃ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᏂ ᎠᏆᏠᏅᏓᏕ ᏗᏆᏅᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᎠᎧᏁᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ Iroquois ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ.”

ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎳᏚ ᏧᎨᏒ, ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ Iroquois ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏃᏘᏂᏙᎯ. ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ, ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏚᏂᏠᏒ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱᎢ, ᎤᎪᏓ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎤᏂᏲᏎᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᎢᏧᎾᏁᎶᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.

ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, Ward ᏓᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎦᏅᏗ ᎠᎦᏘᏯ ᎦᏅᏗ ᎠᎧᏔᏯ ᎾᎿ Limestone ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎠᏗ in South Carolina. ᏄᏛᏁᎸ 55-9 ᏳᏛᏁᎸ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᎾᎥᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏢᎬᎢ.

ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏁᎳ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᏚᏍᏕᎸᎲ ᎾᎿ Limestone ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎨᏒ Ꮟ ᎾᏥᎾᏢᏍᎬᎾ ᎲᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎾᎿ Healthwood Hall Episcopal ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ S.C.

About the Author

stacie-boston@cherokee.org • 918-453-5269

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