Today, it is inconceivable for a professional or even small college sports team to go without a coach designated to enhancing conditioning, strength training, and overall performance. But someone had to be first. In Building the Perfect Star we see how it started.
In 1976, the Dallas Cowboys and Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tom Landry hired Dr. Bob Ward and told him to go to work. Part of the aura of the Dallas Cowboys was to be ahead of the curve, which made hiring Ward a natural step forward. No one could have predicted that Ward would become the key figure in revolutionizing how athletes prepare and train for generations to come. Ward believed in analytics long before Moneyball made them synonymous with sports. He saw the value in computers and technology in sports before the two became linked. Born on the Fourth of July to a home of modest means, Ward is a self-made American success story who forever changed the game of football as we know it.
His ideas and his thoughts and his programs – I really do think that Bob Ward had a lot to do with all of those winning seasons we had in Dallas. To this day, if you talk to the players he worked with, we are all crazy about him. —Roger Staubach – Dallas Cowboys quarterback, 1969-1979; Pro Football Hall of Fame
There is no question he made a tremendous impact on what the NFL did in terms of strength and conditioning. He was way ahead of his time. —Dan Reeves – Dallas Cowboys assistant coach, 1970-80; NFL head coach, 1981-2003
With Bob Ward, we did things before everybody else did. We were the most physically fit team in the NFL. The improvement in our guys was because of Bob Ward. —Mike Ditka – Dallas Cowboys assistant coach, 1973-74, 1975-76, 1981; NFL head coach, 1982-99
About the Author
Dr. Bob Ward was born on the Fourth of July, the son of a World War I veteran. He came from modest means, even living with his three siblings in a sort of orphanage at the age of six. Ward became a self-made man and one of the most important players in the evolution of professional sports. A former small college All-American, Ward learned by doing. He trained. He played. He coached. Ward earned his Doctor of Physical Education from Indiana University and studied sports science at its infancy with the U.S. Olympic team. He took that education and went on to implement it with the Dallas Cowboys in the mid-1970s where he joined Tom Landry’s coaching staff as the NFL’s first full-time conditioning coach. While activities such as yoga, CrossFit, and martial arts are now common, Ward was already implementing these programs with pro athletes and would revolutionize the way athletes prepared and trained. Ward believed in analytics long before it became a part of sports vernacular. His ideas studying and analyzing athletes and movement completely changed the way individuals trained and prepared in sports. What strength and performance coaches, and the athletes themselves, do today to prepare can be traced back to Dr. Bob Ward.