George Mason’s First Head Coach Peter Ward Retires After 25 Years

After 25 years as head coach of the George Mason Patriots, Peter Ward announced his retirement this week via a press release. He was the program’s first head coach, hired in 1998 to start both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs. Over the last quarter of a century, he’s led his teams to multiple titles in two different conferences (the CAA and the A10).

“What I am most proud of is the great things we were able to accomplish as a program and the amazing people who have been a part of it,” Ward said. “We were able to do more with less through commitment, hard work and trust that are to this day, the core values of both the athletes and the coaches.

He continued, “it has been a rare opportunity to start a new Division I program from the ground up and then have the privilege to lead it for 25 years. The athletes and coaches that have been a part of this program are and will always be a huge part of mine and my family’s life.”

Over the course of his career, Ward coached 103 CAA champions, 34 All-Americans, 28 A-10 champions, 18 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champions, 15 Olympic Trials qualifiers, and two SEC champions.

At George Mason, Ward led the women’s team to four straight CAA team titles from 2002-2005. During the 2019-2020 season, the Patriot men won the A10 team title–their first title in program history. They’ve also been runners-up five times in the last six seasons. Across his time coaching in the CAA and A10, he’s been Coach of the Year six times: for the women’s team in 2002 and 2003 and the men’s side in 2003, 2005, 2018, and 2020.

He boasts a winning dual meet record both at George Mason and for his career. Under his leadership, the Patriot women went 103-93 while the men were 108-74. Those numbers improve to 136-96 for the women and 133-85 for the men.

Ward began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, where he had been team captain. A native of Toronto, Ontario, he was a member of the Canadian national team from 1979-1988. Ward placed seventh in the 200 butterfly at the 1984 Olympics and held the Canadian record in the event from 1981-84. Following the Olympics, he won silver medal in the 200 fly at the 1987 Pan American Games.

Along with coaching at George Mason, Ward was involved with the Special Olympics and helped with D.C’s bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Per George Mason’s press release, current assistant coach James Greenwood will take over in June as the interim head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams.

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3 months ago

Congratulations Peter on 25 years of college coaching. You’ve done an outstanding job at George Mason. Enjoy your retirement.
The WAD, CC, and Dapper Dan.

4 months ago

Cheers Coach Ward, job well done

4 months ago

Great career Peter. Congrats. Peter broke my Ontario record in the 200 fly too 🙂

Richard Sybesma
4 months ago

Coach Ward, Congrats on a great career.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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