Mount Holyoke athletic director Lori Hendricks has announced the hiring of Jackie Ward as the head coach of the basketball program and lecturer in physical education. Ward joins the department after serving the last two years as the assistant basketball coach at Hartwick.
Ward takes over a program which has lost 45 consecutive games, and has won just two games total in the past three seasons.
"I want to thank Lori Hendricks and Mount Holyoke College for giving me the opportunity to lead the basketball program," said Ward. "I am excited to join the Lyons family and I am honored to be working at such a prestigious institution, where excellence is valued in all arenas. Our student-athletes are bright, proud, and eager young women who are dedicated to advancing the program, and I am looking forward to working with each of them."
"Coach Ward brings a wealth of experience from three different, very successful Division III institutions. She is respected and admired by her colleagues and student-athletes as an outstanding recruiter, motivator, strategist, and mentor, said Hendricks. "Her commitment, ambition, and record of achievement align with the reimagined vision for the basketball program. We are thrilled to have Coach Ward bring her energy and talent to our Mount Holyoke team."
During her tenure with the Hawks, Ward helped the squad earn a berth in the Empire 8 tournament during the 2016-17 campaign – a first for Hartwick since 2014. Among her primary duties were serving as the Hawks' recruiting coordinator, creating scouting reports, daily on-court coaching, player development and running the team's social media accounts across a number of platforms. Ward was involved in the strengthening of alumni relations, organizing alumni contests and communications.
Prior to Hartwick, Ward was a member of the basketball staff for two years at Smith. While at Smith, Ward was heavily involved in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. Notably, she secured eight prospective student-athletes for the 2015-16 season in just her first year with the team. Additionally, she was responsible for the development of players' individual technical and tactical skills and opponent scouting reports.
Ward also served as the administrative fellow and events manager during her time with the Pioneers. In this role, she was involved with the Smith College Athletics rebranding initiative. She also acted as the tournament director for the Seven Sisters Tennis Tournament, Hall of Fame Volleyball Invitational, Smith Volleyball Invitational, NEWMAC Championship cross country meet as well as other home events.
From 2011-14, Ward served as an assistant coach for women's basketball at Nazareth. In her first full season with the Golden Flyers, she boasted one Empire 8 all-conference player and another who finished as the program's all-time leader in three-pointers made. She also helped coach the East Region Rookie of the Year, a second team all-conference and the four-time Empire 8 Rookie of the Week.
A four-year standout in basketball at Division I Binghamton, Ward played in every game of her career, earning a starting position her final two seasons while also being named captain as a senior. With the Bearcats, she ranked as the third-best shooter in the America East, and was named to the America East Academic Honor Roll and Dean's List.
Ward earned her bachelor's in English from Binghamton. She went on to earn a master's education from Nazareth, as well as a master's in exercise and sport studies from Smith.