"Old School" principles are time tested and result proven since the beginning of the world's oldest sport. Kelly Ward began his wrestling career as a 10 year old at the Silver Spring Boys Club in Silver Spring, Maryland. Under the watchful eye of Coach Jimmy Terrill where he went 7-0 that first year of wrestling at 75lbs. In his 2nd year of wrestling, the Capital Area Wrestling League was at the league’s 1st year of inception. Kelly won the very first CAWL tournament at 85lbs and was named the leagues Outstanding Wrestler and went on to win three more CAWL tournaments. Kelly also won the second ever Md./Va. State Jr. league meet at 132lbs in his last year of competition at the Jr. Level of wrestling.
The hard work and results continued as Kelly moved on to John F. Kennedy High School, Silver Spring, Md. Under the tutelage of late legendary Hall of Fame Wrestling Coach Dr. Robert McNelis, Kelly won two Maryland State Championships at 138 (1974) & 145lbs (1975). As a senior attending perennial national high school power Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey, Kelly captured both the NJ State Championship and the National Prep Championship’s in dominating fashion pinning all opponents except one in the 148lb wt. class. Kelly finished a stellar High School Career with a perfect 90-0-0 record.
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Distinguished Member and Iowa State University Head Wrestling Coach Dr. Harold Nichols offered the 18 year old Ward a full athletic scholarship to attend ISU. Kelly accepted and continued his wrestling career in Ames, Iowa in the fall of 1975.
Ward captured NCAA Silver Medals at the 1977 & 1978 NCAA Wrestling Championships while becoming a 3 time All-American at Iowa State. Kelly was a member of Iowa State’s 1977 NCAA National Championship Team and was team captain for the 1979 ISU team.
In 1979, Ward won the NCAA Wrestling Championships at 158lbs while garnering his second Big 8 Championships Title and voted Outstanding Wrestler of the Big 8 Championships. Winning the NCAA Championships made Kelly Ward the first Maryland born NCAA Champion. Ward completed his NCAA collegiate campaign with a 126-10-2 record, a 91% winning percentage.
In freestyle wrestling, Kelly won the AAU 20 + under National Freestyle Championships after his freshman year at ISU. This honor took Kelly overseas for the first time as a member of the USA freestyle team to Eastern Europe. Over the years that followed, Kelly competed for various USA Olympic style teams against a number of visiting foreign World Teams. Kelly has competed in Russia, Japan & Poland going undefeated in all international competition finishing 21-0.
After graduating from Iowa State with a BA degree, Ward served four years as the Head Assistant Coach, University of Nebraska. During this tenure, Kelly served as interim Head Coach at UNL while Head Coach Bob Fehrs was sidelined after an airplane crash. Nebraska achieved the highest (4th place) NCAA Wrestling Championship finish in school history up to that date. The Cornhuskers also enjoyed two 6th place finishes during Ward’s coaching days in Lincoln.
With wrestling in his blood as an effective mentor to younger wrestlers at Nebraska, Kelly began to mold young men into champions. Two of Kelly's early protégés were a pair of rugged twins from Mobridge, South Dakota. Bill and Jim Scherr became Husker NCAA Champions after a 21 year draught for Big Red. In addition to the Scherr Brothers successes, Ward & NU produced two NCAA Silver Medalists and a total of twelve All-Americans. The University of Nebraska Wrestling Team winning percentage during Ward’s years was a stellar .807.
Bill and Jim Scherr both made and competed for the USA Olympic Team in Seoul, Korea. Bill winning a Bronze Medal, Jim taking 5th place.
Kelly Ward has been inducted into numerous Hall of Fames including the State of Maryland, Hall of Fame (all sports) and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2003, Kelly was the recipient of USA Wrestling's Outstanding American Award for a lifetime of service to wrestling and community. This prestigious award was presented by legendary wrestler, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Distinguished Member and U.S. Navel Academy Head Wrestling Coach Ed Peery.
After a rewarding full-time coaching career while staying active as youth club and wrestling camp director, Kelly Ward pursued a 25 year career in Law Enforcement for the United States Secret Service. During Ward's Secret Service career as a Special Agent Criminal Investigator he was assigned to various Field Offices. Kelly was on duty in the World Trade Center field office in New York City during the 1993 terrorist bombing. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing Agent Ward rendered aid to three fellow wounded Agents.
Other assignments included Former President Ronald Reagan Protective Detail, Los Angeles, California, VP Dick Cheney, Vice Presidential Protective Division, Wash. DC, Secret Service Headquarters, Intelligence Division, Wash. DC, Senior Course Instructor, US Secret Service Training Academy, Beltsville, Md., various supervisory positions in the Dignitary Protective Division, Wash. DC. At the time of his retirement from Secret Service detail, Kelly Ward held the position of Special Agent in Charge, Secretary of the Treasury Protective Detail, Wash. DC.
Professional honors and recognition include a Distinguished Service Award from the President of the United States, George W. Bush for service preformed at the White House for the Executive Office of the President on September 11, 2001 during and following the attacks on the United States of America.
Kelly is married to the former Tammy Parker from Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Wards have two sons, Alex and Ben; both are accomplished wrestlers in their own right. Alex was a State Champion at Mt. St. Joe HS in Baltimore, Md. and former all Big XII academic varsity member of the NCAA 4th place and Big XII Champion University of Nebraska Wrestling Team. Ben Ward is presently an honor student at the University of South Carolina and former South River HS, Edgewater, Md. three time Anne Arundel County Wrestling Champion.
Today, Kelly continues to feed his unrelenting passion for the world's oldest and greatest sport - Wrestling. Kelly Ward's Champion Wrestling Camps pass on time tested knowledge, philosophy and technique to any willing athlete. History can and will repeat itself with only the names of the champions wearing the gold medals changing. The principals to becoming a champion do not change as evident below in this personally written advice column Kelly wrote for renowned wrestling publication Amateur Wrestling News over 30 years ago.