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    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    FSU Retro Look Back: Charlie Ward

    Like Warrick Dunn, Charlie Ward is as great a person as an athlete. Ward won the 1993 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback for Florida State University, and subsequently led the Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship when FSU defeated Nebraska 18-16 in the 1994 Orange Bowl.

    The Seminoles had suffered their only defeat of the season to a second-ranked Notre Dame team, but their path to the National Championship was cleared a week later when the Irish were upset at home by an unranked Boston College squad. Charlie was only the second African-American quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, following Andre Ware in 1989; no other black QB has accomplished this feat since. When Ward won the Heisman, he set the record (it has since been eclipsed) for the greatest margin of victory in the voting. He also won the Sullivan Award that year. In 2006 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

    Ward was a model student-athlete at Florida State. As a senior and captain of the team in 1993, he voluntarily approached Seminoles Head Coach Bobby Bowden about a difficult situation surrounding incoming freshman Warrick Dunn, whose mother, policewoman Betty Smothers, was killed in the line of duty during Dunn's senior year of high school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Charlie served as a surrogate big brother to Dunn during the latter's first year in Tallahassee, helping him through a trying time by becoming his roommate and friend.

    Upon graduation, Ward made his intentions clear that should he not be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft his desire would be to play in the NBA. Accordingly, Ward was not selected in the NFL Draft, so instead of pursuing a career as a football player in the NFL like most Heisman winners, he began his career in the NBA as a point guard and was chosen in the 1st round of the 1994 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.

    Awards won by Ward:
    1993 Heisman Trophy
    1993 Johnny Unitas Award
    1993 James E. Sullivan Award
    1993 Walter Camp Award
    1993 Maxwell Award
    1993 Davey O'Brien Award

    Charlie Ward was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 5, 2006 and was inducted into the FSU Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

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