Photos by Stephen Wandzura of the Waves' 2-0 victory over the Wildcats.
Tim Ward elevated the Pepperdine women's soccer program to among the nation's elite in his first decade as head coach and has continued the Waves' upward trend well into his second.
Since first assuming head coaching duties in 1998, Ward has led his team to 14 winning seasons and eight NCAA Tournament berths, including three Sweet 16 appearances. In addition, the Waves have finished the year with Top 25 recognition seven times and shared the West Coast Conference titles in 2002 and 2011.
Heading into the 2016 season in his 19th year as head coach, Ward has led the Waves to an overall record of 207-109-47 (.635), with 12 seasons of double-digit victories. His players have earned All-American status six times, All-West Region honors 32 times, All-WCC notice 90 times and WCC All-Academic awards 40 times. In 2002, 2011 and 2014, Ward was named the WCC Coach of the Year, and he earned West Region Coach of the Year honors from both the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz in 2002 and from the NSCAA in 2014. In addition, he was awarded runner-up status for National Coach of the Year from Soccer Buzz in 2002.
He guided the Waves to one of the finest seasons in the program's illustrious history as the team made its third Sweet 16 appearance in 2014 and finished the year ranked 10th in the NSCAA Coaches Poll.
Ward has been with Pepperdine from nearly the beginning, as the women's soccer program was established in 1993 and he came aboard as an assistant coach in 1994. After four years as an assistant, he was elevated to the head coaching spot in 1998.
After his teams produced winning seasons in 1999 and 2000, the 2001 campaign proved to be a breakthrough year for Ward and the Pepperdine women's soccer team. The program received its first-ever top-25 national ranking and made its debut in the NCAA Tournament. One other season highlight was a 1-0 overtime victory against second-ranked and eventual national champion Santa Clara.
The Waves concluded the 2001 season with a 12-5-3 record and ranked #20 nationally by Soccer Buzz, #22 by the NSCAA and #24 by Soccer Times. Playing in their first-ever NCAA Tournament match, the Waves recorded a 1-0 first-round victory over crosstown rival USC.
That success catapulted Pepperdine to even greater heights in 2002 as the Waves opened the season with a school-record 12-match unbeaten streak. Pepperdine ended the season with a remarkable 18-2-2 overall record, defeated both perennial powers Santa Clara and Portland and shared a first-ever WCC championship. In the 2002 NCAA Tournament, the Waves went on the road to defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin to move Pepperdine into the Sweet 16 for the first time. The Waves finished in the Top 10 in all four major soccer polls, including a program-high #5 ranking by Soccer America.
The Waves continued their run of success in 2003, posting an overall mark of 14-6-1 and earning an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. For the third straight year, Pepperdine won its first-round match with a 1-0 victory over USC. In 2004, Pepperdine concluded the season with a 9-7-3 overall record and received another at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Despite suffering a first-round 1-0 setback to UCLA, the Waves set single-season records for fewest goals allowed (12) and lowest goals-against average (0.60).
The program continued to see success in 2005, as Ward led the Waves to an overall record of 15-4-3, its second Sweet 16 appearance and a top 20 final ranking. Pepperdine was ranked as high as #7 at one point during the season by Soccer Buzz. In the NCAA Tournament, fourth-seeded Pepperdine traveled to Nashville, Tenn., and posted first and second-round victories over Mississippi and Samford, respectively.
The 2006 squad had another successful year with an overall mark of 11-6-3 and a third-place finish in the WCC, but was unfortunately left on the bubble when NCAA Tournament at-large bids were awarded. A young team and a challenging schedule led to a 5-8-6 record in 2007, but the Waves rebounded the following season with an overall mark of 9-9-2.
Pepperdine won its final three games of 2009 to finish with an overall mark of 11-7-1 and placed fourth again in the WCC at 3-3-1. The Waves posted another successful 2010 season, perhaps again narrowly missing out an NCAA Tournament berth despite a 9-6-5 overall record and a 2-3-2 mark in WCC play, good for a tie for fifth place. The 2010 women's soccer team earned an NSCAA Women's Team Academic Award for its efforts in the classroom.
Pepperdine posted one of its best seasons ever in 2011, as the Waves won a share of the WCC title (but held the tiebreaker over San Diego and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament). Pepperdine went 15-2-4 (.810) and 7-1-0 in the WCC and finished the season with a #10 national ranking by the NSCAA. The Waves hosted an NCAA Tournament match for the first time in school history, but lost to Long Beach State in the first round.
Pepperdine continued to roll in 2012, qualifying for its second straight NCAA postseason berth and hosted an opening round game for the second consecutive year. The Waves spent the entire campaign ranked in the top-25 in at least one of the major polls but fell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament to California in a hard-fought 1-0 decision.
A 1989 graduate of Agoura (Calif.) High School, Ward earned All-CIF Southern Section first team honors as a senior and was tabbed the Frontier League's Most Valuable Player after leading the Chargers to a dazzling 23-3-1 record. Ward continued his soccer career at nearby California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. During his four-year tenure, the Kingsmen compiled a record of 57-18-8 (.735).
Cal Lutheran won or shared the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and advanced to postseason play in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The 1992 team established a single-season school record by winning 15 matches, and the Kingsmen advanced to the NCAA Division III Far West Regional championship match before losing to Colorado College.
Ward was recognized on the Adidas All-Academic team after his senior year in 1992, and was a All-SCIAC first team selection in 1992 after earning second team honors in 1991. Ward earned his bachelor's degree from Cal Lutheran in December of 1993, graduating magna cum laude while specializing in the fields of biology and psychology.
Ward served as the head coach for the junior varsity boys' soccer team at Agoura High for five years from 1989-93. In 1994 he was named the school's varsity coach. In their most successful season since joining the Marmonte League, Ward directed the Chargers to a 12-7-3 record. He was inducted into the Agoura HS Hall of Fame in 2016.
Ward possesses a United States Soccer Federation "B" coaching license. An accomplished musician, Ward is a talented singer and acoustic guitarist. He was a member of the band "Your Moose," a group that performed original contemporary folk rock and released its first compact disc in 1997. His new group, "Ward & Egertson," released their debut CD in 2009.
Ward and his wife, Shelby, have three children -- Abigail, Nathaniel and Charlotte.