Hitting coach Ward earns his college degree

Hitting coach Ward earns his college degree

PHOENIX -- In addition to "former Major League outfielder" and "D-backs hitting coach," Turner Ward can now add another title: college graduate.

Ward, who is in his second season as D-backs hitting coach, received his degree from the University of Phoenix on Tuesday, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Management.

"It feels great, it's been a long process. It was tough, it wasn't something easy for me," Ward said. "It was a goal worth accomplishing."

Ward began his collegiate career at the University of South Alabama in 1983, but he left after his junior season to start his professional career. Ward played 12 seasons in the Majors, batting .251 between time with the Indians, Blue Jays, Brewers, Pirates, D-backs, and Phillies.

He started his coaching career in the D-backs organization in 2006, when he served as manager for Double-A Mobile.

D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was the first member of the organization to receive his degree from the University of Phoenix, which he completed in 2013.

Ward said it was a challenge, as he also had work and was raising his three children. His wife, Donna, was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.

But in the end, Ward said sticking with college and finally earning his degree was worth the time and effort.

"It was just important to finish something that I started," Ward said.

Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.