Okla. Marty Ward, head coach of the mens lacrosse team
at Florida Southern College, is a Cherokee Nation, Iroquois citizen
and the only Native American head lacrosse coach at a major university
in the country.
Ward enters his third season as head coach for FSC in Lakeland
with an 18-12 overall record in his first two seasons.
Under Ward, the Moccasins have posted back-to-back winning seasons
and reached the Deep South Conference Championship both years.
The Mocs finished the 2012 season receiving votes in the final
United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches Poll after
posting a 10-6 overall record and 6-2 mark in the conference championship.
The year was highlighted by a six-game win streak at the end of
the season going into the conference title game where Wards
The Syracuse, N.Y., native said its an honor being one
of the first Native American lacrosse head coach in the NCAA.
My heritage has helped me embody the kind of man, the
kind of husband, the kind of son, the kind of brother that I want
to be, Ward said. Its made me find myself a little
understand that I give thanks to everything, every day.
Ward said he remembers playing lacrosse his whole life and could
not think of anything that suits him more.
Lacrosse is a way of life, he said.
This past summer, Ward served as an assistant coach served for
the Iroquois Nationals Under-19 Program that won a bronze medal
at the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 World Championships
in Turku, Finland.
is also set to play goalie for the Iroquois Nationals at the 2014
World Lacrosse Championship in Denver, a position he played in 2006
for the team. Ward said playing for the Iroquois team and just to
be able to wear the Iroquois jersey on the field is an honor.
The Iroquois National team represents the creators of
the game lacrosse, he said. As it being a Native game,
this was really a special honor for me playing with them in (20)06.
The Iroquois Nationals are the first Native American lacrosse
team to compete on an international level. The team consists of
players from the six nations of the Iroquois. In 1998, the team
began competing in the World Lacrosse Championship.
However, after the 2014 world tournament, Ward said he plans
to focus more on the sports coaching side.
This is going to be my last world games to play in as
a player, he said. Im more in the coaching realm
now than the playing realm. So this is my last opportunity to get
out there and compete for a medal with the Iroquois Nationals team.
In 2012, he served as an Iroquois Nationals assistant coach.
At the World Lacrosse Championship, the team beat the United States
team for the first time, a great accomplishment considering it was
Team USAs second loss in 40 matches for the year.
In college, Ward played goalkeeper at Limestone College in South
Carolina. He posted a 55-9 career record at the school and was a
two-time team captain.
In 2008, he served as a Limestone College student assistance
coach before being hired as lacrosse coach in 2009 at Heathwood
Hall Episcopal School in S.C.