Arizona Diamondbacks Hitting Coach Turner Ward has officially graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Management. The former Major League outfielder had been taking classes since he was a minor league coach in 2010.
"To be able to accomplish a lifetime goal like this is really special," said Ward, who began his collegiate career at the University of South Alabama before being drafted as a junior. "In the middle of this process, watching my wife go through cancer was the hardest thing I've ever had to do but it also makes it that much more sweet."
Ward becomes the second member of the D-backs' current team to earn his degree from University of Phoenix over the past three years, as All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt graduated in 2013. Ward served as Goldschmidt's manager at Double-A Mobile in 2011 when the BayBears were named the Minor League Team of the Year by Baseball America.
A native of Florida and resident of Alabama, Ward played 12 seasons in the Major Leagues, batting .251 with 39 homers and 219 RBI for the Indians, Blue Jays, Brewers, Pirates, D-backs and Phillies. He hit a 2-run, pinch-hit home run in Game 3 of the 1999 NLDS for the D-backs against the Mets.
Ward began his coaching career in 2006 and led Double-A Mobile to back-to-back Southern League titles. He became the D-backs' Assistant Hitting Coach in 2013 before taking over the primary Hitting Coach position in 2014. The D-backs currently lead the National League with 405 runs scored.
He and his wife, Donna, have three children, Tucker, Kendall and Olin. Tucker was recently drafted by the D-backs in the 40th round of the June First-Year Player Draft and is currently playing in the Arizona Rookie League.