NC State baseball hosted its Alumni game Saturday at Doak Field at Dail Park, with the current squad prevailing 6-3
Brian Ward, one of the best hitters in NC State history, joined the Wolfpack coaching staff in September 2007 as a volunteer coach. Ward serves as first-base coach and coaches baserunners. He also helps assistant coach Chris Hart with the Wolfpack's hitters and infielders.
An outstanding hitter in two seasons at NC State, 1998-99, Ward came to Raleigh following two all-star seasons for Coach Ernie Rosseau at Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Fla. At Brevard, Ward won back-to-back Florida juco batting championships, hitting .434 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs as a freshman in 1996, and .471 with 12 doubles, three triples, four homers and 45 RBIs as a sophomore in 1997. He was conference player of the year and first-team all-state both years.
The move to the ACC was a smooth one for Ward, who batted .393 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs as a junior in 1998 to earn second-team all-conference honors. He set school records that year with 31 doubles and 105 base hits. A year later, he batted .367 with 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, leading the '99 Wolfpack in homers and RBIs. He left NC State as the school's career leader in batting average with a .380 mark, which has since been eclipsed by Aaron Bates, who batted .387 in 2005-06.
The San Diego Padres selected Ward in the 12th round of the 1999 MLB Draft, and he went on to a seven-year career in professional baseball. He played two years in the San Diego organization and one for the Minnesota Twins, advancing as far as the advanced Class A Florida State League in 2001. He was named second baseman for the 1999 Pioneer League All-Star team after batting .317 with 23 doubles, seven home runs and 60 RBIs in 68 games at Idaho Falls, and was a Midwest League All-Star Game selection in 2000 when he batted .286 with 24 doubles, five home runs and 36 RBIs in 106 games for the Fort Wayne Wizards.
Following the `01 season, Ward spent four seasons playing in the independent Northern League. In his four-year career in independent baseball, he was one of the top defensive players in the league, achieving one of the highest fielding percentages for a middle infielder during that time. In 2002, he committed just five errors in 95 games at second base. Offensively, Ward had his best professional season in 2003, hitting .305 with 27 doubles, 11 home runs and 64 RBIs in 83 games for Fargo-Moorhead, earning a spot on the league's all-star team. He also was a consensus Independent League All-Star as chosen by Baseball America.
Ward played on two USA Baseball tournament teams that played in Mexico and Cuba in 2003 and 2004.
Ward is married to former NC State gymnast Monica Berry. They live in Holly Springs, N.C.