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FSC’s Ward Selected for Induction into the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame

via FSC press release/website

FLN: Congratulations Marty, that is an incredible honor!

LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Southern College men’s lacrosse head coach Marty Ward has been selected as a member of the third induction class into the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame (NAIAHF). The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame during the second annual NAIAHF Banquet which will be held Saturday, March 16 at the Radisson Conference Center in Green Bay, Wis.
Founded in 2022 by Dan Ninham, Oneida, and his wife Susan, Red Lake Ojibwe, the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame honors and recognizes the indigenous sport cultures of 27 countries of North America by recognizing outstanding leadership and achievement in individual and team athletics. The 2024 Hall of Fame class features 77 individuals in athlete, coach, builder, media, official, and trainer categories and seven teams.
Ward becomes one of just 16 coaches selected to the NAIAHF including the first from the Cherokee Nation.
Ward has been a part of the Florida Southern men’s lacrosse program for nearly its entire existence. He was named the head coach of the Moccasins in 2011 after spending one season as an assistant coach. The Mocs have competed in just one season where Ward was not on the sideline and that was the inaugural 2009 campaign.
Since Ward took the helm of the program, the Moccasins have posted an overall record of 105-85, and have been ranked in the USILA Top 20 numerous times. Under Ward’s leadership, the program has produced 10 USILA All-Americans and 71 all-conference selections.
During Ward’s first three years, Florida Southern competed in the Deep South Conference and produced 22 all-conference honorees. Ward was named as the DSC Co-Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading the Mocs to the conference title game. FSC would make a repeat trip to the Deep South championship game in 2012.
Since the Moccasins began competing in the Sunshine State Conference in 2014, Florida Southern has produced 49 all-conference selections, including the 2015 SSC Player of the Year (Dane Sorensen), the 2014 SSC Co-Newcomer of the Year (Grant VanOverbeke) and the 2022 SSC Freshman of the Year (Matt Flammenspeck).
Ward has guided 10 Moccasins to USILA All-American honors including Jeff Atlas (third team – 2022), Craig Connor (third team – 2023), Kevin Horwitz (third team – 2022), Austen Lison (third team – 2017), DJ Lubs (honorable mention – 2013, 2014), Jay Minor (second team – 2023), Sean Nolan (honorable mention – 2023), Nick Shannon (honorable mention – 2023) and Dane Sorensen (third team – 2015).
Ward’s teams have also excelled in the classroom, with 35 players earning the D2ADA Academic Achievement Award for a total of 61 total selections. Jeff Atlas became the program’s first CoSIDA Academic All-American as well as the first CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2022. Atlas was named a third team All-American while being named first team All-District. Atlas and teammate Craig Connor became the second and third Moccasins all-time to earn USILA Scholar All-American honors in 2022 joining Matt Lalli who first earned the honor in 2017. The Moccasins have also had more than 100 players named to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll since Ward took over.
Ward was a standout goalkeeper and two time All American at Division II powerhouse Limestone College, where he helped lead the Saints to a record of 55-9 in his four years.
A member of the Cherokee Nation, Ward has also had success as a goalkeeper for the Iroquois Nationals team, earning a bronze medal at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships. He was also the starting goalkeeper for the Iroquois Nationals team that finished fourth in 2006. He made the roster in 2010 as the team qualified for the global event but did not participate.
He has also served as a coach for the Iroquois Nationals U-19 squad at the international level, leading the team to a bronze medal at the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships.
Ward is currently the only Native American head coach in NCAA men’s lacrosse, at any level. In 2018, Ward became the first lacrosse player inducted into the Corcoran (N.Y.) High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
Outside of the sport, Ward worked with the NativeVision program from 2013-16, a part of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Heath. Sponsored by the National Football League (NFL), the program, one of the nation’s largest nutrition, obesity and diabetes prevention programs for American Indian children.