Degrees and Certifications:
Coach Ward holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management from Hampton University, Master of Arts degree in K-12 Technology Integration from Nova Southeastern University, Professional Certifications in Health, Physical Education, Driver Education and Certificate in Athlete Management from Sports Management Worldwide.
JoVanka J Ward
JoVanka Ward is in her second year at Thompson High School. She has been teaching for nine years on the middle and high school levels and prior to her time in secondary education she spent 11 years as a women's college basketball coach. JoVanka currently teaches Driver Education, is Head Women's Basketball Coach and also serves as Assistant Director of Athletics. Ward has compiled an overall coaching record of 111-44.
2015-16 Coach Ward completed 4 years as the Girl'sHead Coach at Homewood High School. During her final year the Homewood Lady Patriots held the Alabama Sports Writers Association #1 Ranking for 6A Girl's Basketball for the entire season. Homewood completed the season as undefeated Regular Season Champions, 3 time Area Tournament Champions, Back to Back Sub-Regional & Regional Champions and appeared in the 6A State Championship game for the second year in a row, only to finish as the AHSAA State Runner-Up with an overall record of 27-7 after falling to undefeated LeFlore from Mobile, AL. Coach JoVanka Ward was selected to coach the North All-Stars during 2016 AHSAA All-Star Week held in Montgomery, AL.
In 2014-15 The 6A State Champion Lady Patriots finished the season as Walker HS Tournament Champions, Ramsay Hilltop Tournament Champions, Area 9 Undefeated Regular Season Champions, Area 9 Tournament Champions and as the first girls basketball team in school history to be ranked number 1 by the ALSWA (Sports Writers Association). The Lady Patriots held the Number 1 ranking from early December throughout the course of the entire season. They were back to back Area & Sub-Regional Champions and they are the first team to advance beyond the first round of regional play, also making them the first Regional Champions in school history. The Lady Patriots are the first team to make it to the state finals and the first state girls or boys, basketball championship in Homewood history while also setting a school-record with 30 wins. Coach JoVanka Ward was named Over The Mountain (OTM) Coach of the Year, ALSWA 6A Coach of the Year, AL.com State Finals Best Dressed Coach of the Year and USA Today Alabama High School Coach of the Year.
In the 2013-14 season the Lady Patriots finished with an Area & Sub-Regional Championship and a Sweet 16 appearance.
Before going to HHS, JoVanka spent three years at Homewood Middle School as Physical Education teacher as well as Head Coach of Basketball and 7th grade Volleyball. Prior to HMS JoVanka was an assistant women’s basketball coach at UAB for 5 years, and spent 2 years as First Assistant at Alabama A&M and other universities to include Howard and Virginia State. In 2008, a year after the birth of her daughter, she decided to step away from an 11 year career as a college coach and left behind the high demands of college athletics in order to spend more time with her family.
Originally from Panama City, Panama Ward affectionately also calls Hampton, VA home where she grew up and finished her college playing days. She played her prep-school basketball at Kecoughtan High School, then later went on to receive scholarships to play at Old Dominion University, where she spent one year and then completed her collegiate playing career at Hampton University.
JoVanka and her husband Steve, who is the Head Boy’s basketball coach at Huffman High School, have a daughter named Jaelynn. Her favorite teams are her Hampton University Lady Pirates WBB, Duke Men’s Basketball (Go Bluedevils!), NY Yankees, Washington Redskins (HTTR!), VA Tech Football (Go Hokies!), and now as an AL resident she enjoys Crimson Tide Football as well (RTR!).