After sprinting his cross country teams into Peach Belt Conference championships and countless regionals, Adam Ward expanded his commitment to GRU Augusta Athletics by accepting the head coach role for men’s and women’s outdoor track & field.
In 2013, Ward assembled the first outdoor track & field team that the university had ever witnessed. The Jaguars booked eight meets in their inaugural season, facing off against Division-1 titans like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Duke, and Clemson. The Jaguar men took sixth at the Peach Belt Conference Championships and the women eighth.
On April 16, 2013, Jaguar runner Jaiden Brandt earns All-Region honors by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Ward’s commitment to the program helped lead Dustin Ross to the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Pueblo, Colo., on May 23.
A 2001 graduate of Murray State University with a B.S. in Exercise Science, Ward served as a volunteer assistant coach with the GRU cross country program in 2003. He assisted the Murray State cross country program in a similar role in 2001. He is a USA Track and Field Level II certified coach. Ward earned his master’s degree in Health & Physical Education from Augusta State in 2005.
Ward is a former president of the local running club Augusta Striders and as an at-large member of the Augusta Sports Council Events and Planning Committee, he was involved in the design of the course for the Augusta Chronicle Half-Marathon that was first staged in October, 2008.
A former Peach Belt Conference representative to the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) on the DII Executive Council, Ward is also an at-large member of the USTFCCCA Division II Awards Committee.
He is married to the former Ashlynn Young of Augusta, Ga. They are the parents of a son, Carter, and a daughter, Mary Blake.
Emily Smith joined the Jaguar Outdoor Track & Field program in August 2014 as a graduate assistant. Smith will be the throws coach for GRU Augusta and one of head coach Adam Ward’s top aides. Smith will handle working with student-athletes involved in the shot put, hammer throw, javelin, etc.
Born in Port Huron, Mich., Smith graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., in May 2013. Smith earned a B.S. in business administration and sports management and a minor in exercise science. Smith competed under Coach Neil Reilly for indoor and outdoor track and field for all four years. A six-time All-American, Smith holds records for the indoor weight throw, hammer throw, shot put and was a national runner-up for the discus in the spring of 2013.
Also the captain of the track team from 2010-2013, Smith had the Outstanding Field Event Award named after her. The award is now given as the Emily Smith Field Award at Aquinas College. She was the most valuable player of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in 2013 and was ranked in the top 50 in the United States.
Aaron Gordon joined the Jaguar Outdoor Track & Field program in August 2014 as a graduate assistant. Gordon will coach sprints/hurdles, jumps/pole vault and multis for GRU Augusta, and will be one of head coach Adam Wards top aides.
Born in Waco, Texas, Gordon graduated from West Texas A&M with a B.S. in sport and exercise science in December 2013. Competed with the nationally ranked West Texas A&M University track and field team for four years and was coached by Keith Stewart, Ross Smithy, and Quincy Howe.
Gordon has his USATF (USA Track & Field) Level 1 coaching certification, USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Technical Certification and his NFHS coaching track and field certification. Gordon coached multiple Texas UIL district champions and regional and state qualifiers.