NEW PROJECT: Heisman Trophy Winner & 1st Round NBA Draft Pick, Charlie Ward’s Biography

I’ve started research, interviews and writing for my next book with Florida State legend Charlie Ward. It’s pretty much 24 years in the making for me.

Let me explain:

It’s January of 1993 and I’m lying on my bed, flipping through channels on my old 28” box TV set in my high school bedroom. These were dark, dark channel surfing times, with only one HBO, one ESPN and one MTV to keep us afloat. It’s a wonder anybody survived, frankly.

On this particular night, I settled in to watching a mid-season college basketball game between Florida State and Duke. Dicky V was calling the game and Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley were on the floor for Coach K.

At that point, Florida State wasn’t much of a national basketball brand and I didn’t know anyone on the team…until I heard Dicky V mention Charlie Ward.

“The quarterback?” I thought to myself.

Yeah, I quickly saw. The dude running point guard for the Seminoles was also their football team’s QB.

Before I looked on YouTube just now, the thing I remembered about the game was that Dicky V made a classic Dicky V call about Ward slicing the defense like a halfback and then shouting into the camera to Bobby Bowden that he should let Ward play D.

What the YouTube clip below actually shows is the reason for Dicky V going full Dicky V.

With five seconds left in regulation and the game tied, Ward straight up strips Grant Hill in the open floor and then dives on the loose ball (here, Dicky V says he’s like a linebacker).

Then, with 2.7 seconds left in overtime, with FSU up one point, Ward comes out of nowhere (like a free safety) to pick off Duke’s inbounds pass and dribble out the clock, giving FSU the win.

Not bad for the best college quarterback in the country.

 

CUT TO:

8 MONTHS LATER – The Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands

Other than watching ex-Big East teams like Miami and Virginia Tech demolish Rutgers at home, there weren’t too many opportunities to watch big time college football teams in person in Bergen County, New Jersey, where I went to high school.

The main exception was the Kickoff Classic.

In 1993, the game featured #1 ranked Florida State versus Kansas. The match-up was a 42-0 beat down most memorable for FSU’s defense making an 11-play goal line stand inside their own ten against Kansas.

It was memorable for me because I was there. I’d be lying if I said I remembered any specifics in that game other than that a ton of the conversation I was having with my friends was about how sick of an athlete you’d have to be to play big time college basketball and also be the quarterback of the #1 ranked college football team in the country.

I distinctly remember wondering, “What must that be like? How do you handle it?”

CUT TO:

24 YEARS LATER

I will finally get my answer as I’ve agreed to write and in fact have begun research and interviews for a book on one of the most unique, incredible athletes and people we’ve ever seen: Charlie Ward.

I’ve already interviewed about 50 people for the book, pulled hundreds of newspaper and magazine clippings and have gotten ahold of a bunch of publications involving FSU, Bowden, the NBA, Charlie and his exploits.

I’ve also spent countless hours talking to Charlie so far and this book is going to be awesome.

How do I know?

Because everyone I talk to, from old high school teammates to Charlie’s college QB coach Mark Richt to his NBA coach on the Knicks, Jeff Van Gundy, still remain in some sense of wonder at not only his athletic achievements, but also the leader and high-quality guy he is.

Van Gundy may have said it best in my recent conversation with him:

“We’ll never see another athlete like Charlie Ward,” he said to me. “Heisman trophy winner. College National Champion. Drafted twice in baseball. Long NBA career. Coached in the NBA. Then he was easily on a path to becoming an NBA head coach. I don’t know if people have a full grasp of what this guy has done.”

I agree. And that’s why I’m flat out pumped to write this book. That’s the story I want to tell.
Stay tuned for updates!

Jon

If you’re excited about this book but are looking for something to read in the meantime, you might enjoy my book with 4x Super Bowl Champion, NFL and College Football Hall of Famer “Mean” Joe Greene HERE… Or if you’re a basketball fan you’ll love Heart Over Height that I wrote with 3x NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson HERE.

Thanks for reading!

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  • Joseph Zophin

    I just read your article and I enjoyed it. Keep up the great work.
    JZ from Boston