Track apps

App State track and field and pole vault coach retires

Longtime App State pole vault coach David Ward has announced his retirement after 20 years on the Mountaineers staff.

He joined the App State team in the fall of 2003.

“I cannot thank David Ward enough for his mentorship, leadership and care for the student-athletes in this program and App State Athletics,” said Head Athletics Coach Damion McLean. “It was great to have someone you would love to be around to teach you different aspects of coaching and life, especially those coming out of this program.”

Ward, a 1979 App State graduate, was a six-time All-Southern Conference performer in the pole vault. As a mountaineer, he was the indoor and outdoor pole vault record holder, recording clearances of 4.72 m (15′ 6″, indoor) and 4.92 m (16′ 2″ , exterior). Ward remains on the App State’s all-time list for outdoor pole vault, coming in at number six and trailing current athletes Patrick Freeman (4.97m (16′ 4″), fourth ) and Taylor Fox (4.94m (16′ 2.75″), fifth), both of whom recorded clearances under Ward during the 2022 season.

“I would like to thank Roachel Laney, John Weaver and Damion McLean for giving me the opportunity to be an assistant track coach at the best school in the country,” Ward said. “I have been truly blessed to have coached many incredible student-athletes. It was also an honor and a privilege for me to have served with excellent coaches, not only in athletics, but in all the other sports teams in App. I plan to dedicate my retirement years to being the best grandfather, father and husband I can be.

Ward has coached each of the 10 women on the App State’s all-time list for indoor and outdoor pole vault records, including current indoor record holder Suzanne Makinson (4.05m ( 13′ 3.75″), 2004) and outdoor record holder Taylor Drummonds (4.01m (13′ 2.25″), 2017). He has also coached eight of the top 10 male artists indoors (excluding Todd Poremba, 1998, and Wes Pickens, 2002), and eight of the top 10 male artists outdoors, excluding the current holder of the record Poremba (1998) and himself (1979).

The App State men won a total of six consecutive SoCon pole vault titles (three indoors and three outdoor) from 2006 to 2008. Barron Shell won consecutive SoCon indoor and outdoor titles in 2006 and 2007, while Mike Wilson won gold in the 2008 indoor season and Ryan Twiford won the 2008 outdoor title. Philip Thomas won App State’s last SoCon pole vault title in 2014 before the Mountaineers moved to the Sun Belt Conference.

Tristian Shaver won App State’s first Sun Belt indoor pole vault title of 2019 after tying with Arkansas State’s Michael Carr. Both Shaver and Carr had cleared 5.13m (16′ 10″), which led to a play-off. Shaver clinched the title after clearing 5.18m (17′ 0″) and setting what is still the App State program record for the indoor pole vault.

On the women’s side, the Mountaineers have won five straight SoCon pole vault titles for both indoor and outdoor seasons under Ward’s leadership. Shea Snow won the indoor and outdoor titles in 2008 and came back to win the indoor title in 2009. Julie Ward won the indoor pole vault titles in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 Cassandra Crawford swept indoor and outdoor pole vault titles with corresponding clearances of 3.80m (12′ 5.5″) each.

Prior to his move to App State, Ward spent 11 years coaching high school track, cross country, and strength and conditioning.

Individual titles under Coach Ward
Men’s Individual SoCon Titles
2003 Outside – Jon Norman – 4.60m (15′ 1″)
2005 Indoor – Dan Queen – 4.90m (16′ 0.75″)
2006 Interior – Barron Shell – 4.71m (15′ 5.5″)
2006 Outside – Barron Shell – 4.74m (15′ 7″)
2007 Interior – Barron Shell – 4.56m (14′ 11.5″)
2007 Outside – Barron Shell – 4.59m (15′ 1″)
2008 Hall – Mike Wilson – 4.70m (15′ 5″)
2008 Outside – Ryan Twiford – 4.64m (15′ 2.75″)
2014 Indoor – Philip Thomas – 4.70m (15′ 5″)

Men’s Individual Sun Belt Titles
2019 Indoor – Tristian Shaver – 5.18m (17′ 0″) (jump mark) – 5.13m (16′ 10″) (regular mark)

Women’s Individual SoCon Titles
2006 Room – Caren Mah – 3.50m (11′ 5.75″)
2008 Indoor – Shea Snow – 3.70m (12′ 1.5″)
2008 Outdoor – Shea Snow – 3.64m (11′ 11.25″)
2009 Hall – Julie Ward – 3.60m (11′ 9.75″)
2009 Away – Shea Snow – 3.70m (12′ 1.5″)
2010 Interior – Quartier Julie – 3.55 m (11′ 7.75″)
2011 Hall – Cassandra Crawford – 3.80m (12′ 5.5″)
2011 Away – Cassandra Crawford – 3.80m (12′ 5.5″)