Dean Ward was named the Women's Soccer Head Coach on April 22, 2022 and led the Bears to a SAC Regular Season Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season while being named SAC Coach of the Year.
Ward coached four players to be named All-Region selections and Elin Hansson was named a First Teamer. Hansson was named the SAC Freshman and Player of the Year in her first year with the Bears and was one of seven players to be named to the All-Conference team. The Bears beat No. 12 Catawba 4-1 in the regular season finale to earn a SAC Regular Season crown, the 8th in the past 12 years. Ward then led the Bears to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated SAC foe Limestone 1-0 in the first round. The Bears then took on top-seeded Columbus St. and lost by a final score of 1-0. The Cougars would eventually advance all the way to the National Semifinals.
Ward comes to LR from the University of Dayton where he has been the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator since 2017. Ward helped the Flyers earn Atlantic-10 Tournament berths in every season he was with the program and helped develop seven A-10 Conference Rookie team players. Additionally, Ward coached seven players to all A-10 Conference selections and seven to the all A-10 Academic Team. Alexis Kiehl was named A-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2017-18 with Itala Gemelli picking up the A-10 Rookie of the Year in 2020-21 and the league's Player of the Year in 2021.
Prior to arriving at Dayton, Ward served on staff at the University of Tennessee under head coach Brian Pensky for five years. While on staff, the Volunteers compiled a 50-36-16 record including three 10+ win seasons. Ward assisted in recruiting classes touted as No. 3 (2015) and No. 11 (2014) in the nation.
Ward also had a stint at Loyola Marymount University for the 2011 season and enjoyed success at Marymount College (NAIA) as the head coach, leading the Mariners to The Peace Cup Championship in his first season. He served as an assistant coach for both the men's program and the women's program for two years before taking over as the head coach for the women's program in 2010.
Ward also coached in youth soccer as a Director of Player Development for Manhattan Beach Sand & Surf Soccer Club in Los Angeles, CA and coach of FC Alliance ECNL teams based in Knoxville, TN. Ward served as an assistant coach in 2015 with the USYS Region III ODP team and served as a regional staff coach for Region III in 2014 and 2015.
A native of Birmingham, England, Ward graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in sport science with coaching and exercise science. Ward holds an NSCAA Premier coaching diploma and NSCAA National Goalkeeping Diploma.