E.A. Sports Today

Ward steps down in Heflin

Tigers looking for basketball, volleyball coaches after Ward gives up his coaching duties for family reasons

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY – The Cleburne County Tigers are in the market for a new boys basketball and volleyball coach today after veteran coach Doug Ward resigned his duties from both sports for family reasons.

Ward had been with the Tigers for 10 years, but his wife recently accepted her dream job in another county and those logistics plus three teen-aged children participating in extra-curricular activities would put pressure on their family time.

“I’ve been there 10 years,” he said. “It was a great experience. I love the kids. I love the town, but it’s a family decision and a career decision.”

Ward said he enjoyed coaching both sports. His 2012 and 2013 volleyball teams won back-to-back area titles to earn trips to the super regionals. His 2014 basketball team made the school’s first boys sub-regional appearance since 2001; the last two years the Tigers played in a demanding area with White Plains, Jacksonville and Saks.

The Tigers move up to Class 5A this coming academic year, in an area with Central of Clay County, Lincoln and Talladega.

“I never planned on coaching volleyball, but took it on when I saw a need and it ended up being very enjoyable,” Ward said. “Basketball was always a lot of fun. I was proud of everybody who played for us. I learned a lot in my time at Heflin.”

Ward said he plans on coaching again at some point. He coached Faith Christian basketball for three winning seasons before taking the Cleburne County job.

Cleburne County athletics director Michael Shortt said the school is actively seeking to fill the vacancies.

“He’s been a coach here for 10 years and done an excellent job with our volleyball and basketball,” Shortt said of the All-Star Sports Week here. “He will be missed.”

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