Kevin Ward, a two-sport star for the Arizona Wildcats who went on to play two seasons in the major leagues, died Saturday at age 57. Ward, who lived on San Diego’s Coronado Island and worked as a restaurateur, had brain cancer, according to an obituary posted in The Coronado Times.
UA baseball coach Jay Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” by Ward’s death. Ward and his wife, Christy, met while they were students at the UA. Their son, Ryan, is a verbal commit to the UA baseball program’s 2022 recruiting class.
“Kevin was a special man who represented all that was great about being an Arizona Wildcat,” Johnson said. “It was truly an honor to get to know Kevin over the last three and a half years. I will remember Kevin as a man of high character, selflessness, and work ethic. Our heart goes out to Christy and their family.”
Ward, a quarterback, wide receiver and outfielder, was arguably Arizona’s top two-sport athlete of the Pac-10/12 years. In 1982, he was a All-Pac-10 South first-team selection. He was a starting wide receiver in 1981 and 1982 after the UA chose Tom Tunnicliffe to be its starting quarterback. Ward was 16 of 41 and got two starts in 1980 at QB.
Ward starred at baseball, where he played for coach Jerry Kindall from 1981-83. He led the Wildcats in RBIs twice, paced the team in stolen bases once, and posted a team-best .403 batting average in 1982. Ward was also honored with a selection to First-Team All-Pac-10 South as a junior in 1982.
The Phillies organization selected Ward in the sixth round of the 1983 draft. Ward went on to play for the Padres, where he hit .217 with five home runs and 20 RBIs over parts of the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He and his family remained in the San Diego area when Ward’s big-league career ended.
Ward is survived by his 92-year-old mother, Pauline, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania; his wife Christy; daughter Catherine, 17; son Ryan, 15; and three brothers and their families. A funeral mass will be held Monday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado.