Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MIAA mourns the passing of Southern head coach John Ware

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The MIAA was rocked by the news of the sudden passing of John Ware, head football coach at Missouri Southern, Tuesday morning (Sept. 27). He was 46.

Ware was in his second season as head coach of the Lions, and before that had been head coach at Truman from 1995 to 2003. He was an assistant for the Bulldogs for the 10 previous seasons -- eight as offensive line coach. He also was Truman's strength and conditioning coach.

Ware was the Bulldogs' head coach when Jarrett Anderson won the 1996 Harlon Hill Award as NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

He posted a 61-53 (.535) record in his 10-plus seasons as a collegiate football coach -- the 61 victories put him 12th on the MIAA's all-time victories list. Ware was the first man to coach football at two different MIAA schools.

Ware was a competitive powerlifter in the late '80s and early '90s, winning the world championship in 1991 and five U.S. Senior National Powerlifting titles.

The Ottumwa, Iowa, native graduated in 1981 from Drake (Iowa) University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and earned a master's in psychology from Truman in 1987.

During his playing career as an offensive lineman at DU, he earned All-America and Academic All-America honors. He played in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic following his senior season, and signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 1982. He played four exhibition games with the 49ers before being released.

He leaves a wife, Melissa, who served as athletics media relations director at Truman during her husband's tenure at the school.

"John Ware was a man who personified the attributes of his schools' mascots -- he had the heart and ferocity of a Lion and the tenacity and loyalty of a Bulldog," MIAA commissioner Ralph McFillen said. "He loved his family, football, his players and life -- there are few who could measure up to him."

Southern (2-3, 1-2 MIAA) and Truman (1-4, 0-3 MIAA) will play as scheduled Saturday (Oct. 1) in Joplin, and MSSU Homecoming activities will go as planned. Assistant head coach Keeth Matheny will be in charge of the Lions. Services had yet to be announced as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.