Peter Ward Announces Retirement After 25 Years at George Mason

george mason team cheer
Photo Courtesy: George Mason Athletics

Peter Ward Announces Retirement After 25 Years at George Mason

George Mason men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Peter Ward has announced his retirement after 25 years, the school announced Tuesday.

Ward was hired in 1998 upon Mason’s founding of Division I swimming. He led the program to four women’s championships in the Colonial Athletic Association from 2002-05 and the Atlantic 10 men’s title in 2020. He was a six-time conference coach of the year, including for leading the Patriots men’s team to five straight seasons of finishing second or better in the A-10.

“What I am most proud of is the great things we were able to accomplish as a program and the amazing people who have been a part of it,” Ward said in a university statement. “We were able to do more with less through commitment, hard work and trust that are to this day, the core values of both the athletes and the coaches.”

Ward has coached 34 All-American athletes and 131 conference champions (103 in the CAA and 28 in the A-10) as well as 15 Olympic Trials qualifiers. That includes 2008 Olympic Trials finalist Tom Koucheravy (men’s 1,500 free) and NCAA runner-up Ashley Danner. His dual meet record was 103-93 with the women and 108-74 with the men.

“We would like to express our appreciation to Peter Ward for his personal and professional investment in our Mason men’s and women’s swimming programs,” Interim Director of Athletics Nena Rogers said. “Coach Ward was a pioneer, introducing competitive collegiate swimming to our university and campus community. He proudly led our Mason swimming programs to conference championships in both the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA) and the Atlantic 10. During his time at Mason, he developed hundreds of student-athletes who proudly represented Mason – earning regional, conference and national honors. Coach Ward is a staple to the Northern Virginia area community. He hosted coaching clinics and welcomed participants to compete on our Fairfax campus, elevating and promoting the sport of swim and diving. We wish Coach Ward and his family the very best in his retirement and thank him for his commitment and service to both our athletics department and university.”

An Olympian in the pool from Canada, the Toronto native swam at the University of Arkansas. He spent nearly a decade on the Canadian national team, making the Olympic final in the 200 fly at the 1984 Games. He added a silver in the 1987 Pan American Games, won three national titles and held a national record in the 200 fly for three years.

Ward began coaching in Fayetteville before taking over Indiana University Pennsylvania for three seasons. (His all-time dual-meet marks are an eerily similar 136-96 in women’s meets and 133-85 in men’s.)

“It has been a rare opportunity to start a new Division I program from the ground up and then have the privilege to lead it for 25 years,” Ward said. “The athletes and coaches that have been a part of this program are and will always be a huge part of mine and my family’s life. I want to thank Kevin McNamee for his support and belief in me for 23 years. I would also like to thank Todd Bramble and Nena Rogers for supporting me over the last year as I make this important transition.

“Three things came together this year that led me to this decision. As I turn 60 and conclude my 25th year of leading this program that I care so much about, I am proud of the high-level performance of the current men and women’s team and am confident they are positioned for success in the next season and beyond.”

Assistant coach James Greenwood will take over on an interim basis.