New Prague Black Panthers’ head coach - Jim Ward
Jim Ward, Welcome to Prague!
It was the last great unknown before the season began. Whose name would adorn the office door for the Prague Black Panthers’ head coach?
The team’s former head coach, Taylor Breitzman, recently accepted a lucrative job as head coach at a junior college in the USA. Despite his love for the Czech team, his workload prevents him from once again returning to Prague this year.
Happily, after an extensive search administered by the sporting director Daniel Gloss, Bretizman’s successor for the 2015 season of both the AFL and the domestic CLAF has been chosen.
Coach Jim Ward has 34 years of football experience, and has held various coaching positions, including head coach, defensive coordinator, and special teams coach. He comes from Texas, where he’s lived for many years with his wife, Beth. They have two adult sons, Derek and Matt, who have followed in their father’s footsteps and work as trainers at a local high school.
Ward was a runningback and safety at his high school in Texas and throughout his two years at Cisco Jr. College. He eventually enrolled in Carson Newman College (DII), where he was a starting linebacker. It was at Carson that he decided to pursue a career as a football coach, and earned his degree in sports youth education.
During his first few years of coaching, Ward worked at several high schools in Texas. He focused on linebacker training, defensive secondary training, and worked as a special teams coordinator.
He worked as a linebackers coach and as a defensive coordinator special teams coach at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor up until 2011.
Coach Ward has had experience with European football as well. From 2011-2012, he coached the Finnish team Seinajoki Crocodiles as defensive coordinator and special teams coach. In 2013, he was head coach of the Swedish team Orebro Black Knights. Under Coach Ward, the Knights made it to the finals of the Swedish league (Super Series) for the first time in the club’s history.
He currently works as the head coach for the sports camp Speed Kills: Speed & Agility Camp, which, as the name suggests, is aimed at developing the athletic skills of youth, and especially, of American football players.
The new coach will come to Prague in March. Thanks to Ward’s experience on both sides of the ball, he’s sure to help his new team improve in all aspects of the game, from balancing the ideal defense strategy to, of course, developing the individual skills of each player.
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