Coach Ward joined the Randolph faculty as a 9th grade World History teacher and the Girls Head Basketball Coach in the fall of 2013. He led the girls’ varsity team to the AHSAA “Sweet Sixteen” Semi-final in the 2013-14 season with a record of 12-16 and followed that season by going 16-12 after the school was moved up to the 5A classification. Just before the 2015-2016 school year began, Coach Ward was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma and began his second battle with cancer in four years. Ward only missed three games as head coach that season, but the battle continued after the season along with the news of his wife, Lauran, being pregnant with their first child. Coach Ward reluctantly decided he should step down as varsity head coach while focusing on overcoming his illness and preparing for his first child.
Director of Athletics Blake Davenport said, “I was in my first year at Randolph when Coach Ward began his second battle with cancer. It was easy to see how much this program meant to him then as he fought such an inspiring fight and I know how much it still means to him now. He overcame the odds to beat cancer a second time and now he’s eager to lead the girls’ program once again.”
The past three years have seen Ward take on lighter coaching roles by being involved with the Randolph boys’ basketball program as a varsity assistant and middle school head coach. After leading the middle school team to a 10-win season two years ago, Coach Ward led this year’s team to a 16-2 record and the Madison County Championship. He was also on Coach Dylan Bunnell’s varsity staff which saw that team qualify for the state tournament this year for the first time since 2015-2016, while also breaking the 10+ win mark in as many years. Ward has also served as a varsity assistant in the football program each of the past three playoff seasons to include being the special teams coordinator this past fall.
Ward became the Associate Athletic Director just before the 2017-18 school year and has served several roles that have given him great insight and involvement with all the athletic programs.
Davenport also said, “Coach Ward has done a great job as the Associate AD and has been an integral part of the success in both the boys’ basketball and varsity football programs over the past three years. I think these roles have prepared him to not just return to the head coaching position better than ever, but also understand the steps to building a truly comprehensive program from top to bottom.”
Coach Ward recently reflected on the past three years saying, “I have never once regretted my decision to take a step back as the girls head coach to focus on my health. I am grateful that I was welcomed into both the football and boys basketball programs as I made that transition. It kept me doing what I love, working with and coaching young people, but doing so in a less intense roll. Having two young children, loving Huntsville, and loving Randolph made it a no-brainer to return to the sidelines to invest in the girls’ program and bring it back to the heights of where it has been and beyond.”
Wright and Lauran Ward will celebrate five years of marriage in July. They have a three-year-old son, Kaison, and welcomed their second son, Kohen, this past December. Coach Ward also has experience coaching basketball and football at his alma mater, The Westminster Schools in Atlanta.
Coach Ward will be in touch with families of the girls’ basketball program to share plans for spring and summer as well as a holiday tournament, in the very near future. Please join us in celebrating the return of Coach Ward to the girls’ basketball program.”