Dallas Ward
Dallas Ward - Colorado.jpg
Ward as head coach at Colorado
Biographical details
Born(1906-08-11)August 11, 1906
Lexington, Oregon
DiedFebruary 15, 1983(1983-02-15) (aged 76)
Boulder, Colorado
Playing career
1924–1926Oregon State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1936–1941Minnesota (assistant)
1942Iowa Pre-Flight (assistant)
1945–1947Minnesota (backfield)
1962Colorado (defense)
Head coaching record
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
US-O5 insignia.svg
Battles/warsWorld War II

Dallas Carl "Dal" Ward (August 11, 1906 – February 15, 1983) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach. He was the head football coach at the University of Colorado in Boulder from 1948 to 1958, compiling a career record of 63–41–6 in eleven seasons.[1][2] Over the course of the 1953 and 1954 seasons, Ward's Buffaloes won nine consecutive games.

Ward grew up in northeastern Oregon on a ranch near Lexington and played college football at Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis in the 1920s, where he started every game of his collegiate career.

Ward held membership in five honorary societies, including Phi Kappa Phi, and was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.[3] The CU athletic administration center, located at the north end of Folsom Field, was named after him.[4][5] As of 2007, Ward is one of only three multi-sport inductees in the hall of fame at Oregon State, where he was inducted in 1997.[6] He earned eight varsity letters: three for football and twice each for baseball and basketball, and was a captain in all three sports.[6]

Coaching career

After graduation from Oregon State, Ward taught in Minneapolis and became head coach at Marshall High in 1928, helped with a letter of recommendation written by Knute Rockne.[6] In 1936, he joined the staff at the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach. During World War II, Ward served as officer-in-charge of physical and military training at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas. After the war, he returned to Minnesota as backfield coach.

Ward became the head coach at Colorado in 1948, succeeding James J. Yeager. In his first two seasons, his teams won three games each for a 6–13 record, but those were his only losing seasons. Following the 1956 regular season, his team won the Orange Bowl, Colorado's second (1938 Cotton Bowl being their first) bowl game, over Clemson, 27–21. After winning the season-ending bowl game, Ward was offered the head coaching positions at USC and Minnesota, but declined those offers, believing the next few years with the Buffaloes would be even better.[7]

However, they did not turn out as hoped, and, on January 23, 1959,[1][2] Ward was asked to resign by the university regents but refused.[7] The regents reconsidered their actions, but amid many letters of protest mailed in, the original decision was kept and Ward was fired.[7] Although no official reason was stated, it was widely believed Ward was relieved because of his inability to defeat Oklahoma; his career record against the Sooners was 0–8–1,[8] with the tie in 1952 in Boulder in the season opener, earning him UPI Coach of the Week honors.[7] He retired from coaching after his firing, then returned for one season in 1962, as a defensive coach on the staff of interim head coach Bud Davis.

Ward is credited with bringing the Colorado Buffaloes football program to national prominence in the 1950s.[7][9] As of 2007, Ward is ranked third at Colorado in total number of games coached, fourth in total wins, and sixth in conference wins.

Later life and death

Ward had earned tenure as a CU faculty member in 1956. He chose to stay at Colorado and teach. He and his wife Jane and their five children remained in Boulder, where he died of cancer at age 76 in 1983.[7][10]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Colorado Buffaloes (Big Seven / Big Eight Conference) (1948–1958)
1948 Colorado 3–6 2–3 4th
1949 Colorado 3–7 1–4 6th
1950 Colorado 5–4–1 2–4 6th
1951 Colorado 7–3 5–1 2nd
1952 Colorado 6–2–2 2–2–2 T–4th
1953 Colorado 6–4 2–4 T–4th
1954 Colorado 7–2–1 3–2–1 T–3rd
1955 Colorado 6–4 3–3 T–3rd
1956 Colorado 8–2–1 4–1–1 2nd W Orange 18 20
1957 Colorado 6–3–1 3–3 T–3rd
1958 Colorado 6–4 4–2 3rd
Colorado: 63–41–6 31–29–4
Total: 63–41–6


  1. ^ a b "Colorado fires head grid coach". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. January 23, 1959. p. 3B.
  2. ^ a b "Ward fired by Colorado in surprise". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 24, 1959. p. 8.
  3. ^ "History". Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Campus Map | University of Colorado Boulder".
  6. ^ a b c "Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame". Oregon State University. September 14, 2005. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "OSU Sports History Minute". Oregon State University Alumni Association. May 21, 2005. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 20, 2004. Retrieved September 23, 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Lucile Peck (1991). "Dallas Ward". Morrow County Historical Society. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  10. ^ "Former Colorado football coach Ward dies at 76". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. (Texas). Associated Press. February 16, 1983. p. 21.