Mitch Ware - 2012
Named Assistant Head Coach in March 2012, Mitch Ware continues his work with the Eagle quarterbacks in his seventh year overall at Georgia Southern and third year on Coach Monken’s staff.
Ware previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2002-2005 under former Head Coach Mike Sewak. He helped lead Georgia Southern’s rushing game to the top spot in the FCS in each of those four seasons.
The option offense returned in 2010 and behind the steady signal calling of Georgia Tech transfer Jaybo Shaw and since then the Eagles have posted the second most wins in the FCS and are the only team to play in the last two FCS semifinals. Shaw finished his career ranked fifth all-time in career passing yards, sixth in passing touchdowns and totaled 30 rushing scores. Shaw earned All-Conference Second Team honors after the 2011 season and was named the Team’s MVP.
In his first year on the Eagles coaching staff in 2002, Ware developed first-year starter Chaz Williams into one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS. Williams, who earned All-America honors from the Associated Press and was a finalist for the prestigious Walter Payton Award, was chosen as the Southern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,422 yards and scoring a position-record 27 touchdowns as a sophomore. He also guided fullback Jermaine Austin through an incredible rookie season which produced a 1,416-yard rushing total and the SoCon’s Freshman of the Year award.
In 2003, Georgia Southern averaged 335.6 yards per game, best in the nation, thanks to Austin’s efforts. Austin earned the SoCon’s Offensive Player of the Year award and All-America honors for the second time. Austin’s 1,461 ground yards, an average of 132.8 per contest, placed him ninth in the final national rankings. The next season, the Eagles commanded the top spot in rushing again, with 369.9 yards per game, leading all of NCAA Division I. Overall, the offense was ranked third nationally in yards per game.
Ware came to GSU the first time in 2002 after four seasons at the United States Naval Academy, where he spent three years as the Midshipman’s quarterbacks coach. While at Navy, Ware tutored a pair of standout quarterbacks in Brian Broadwater and Brian Madden, who led the nation in rushing yards by a quarterback in 1999 with 897. In 2001, he helped guide Madden to a near-1,000-yard campaigns in both rushing (905) and passing (902).
Prior to his stint at Navy, Ware served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) during a 16-year tenure. Ware began at MS in 1976 as the starting quarterback for the Bears during his freshman season. After graduating in 1980, he spent two years as a graduate assistant before being quickly elevated to a full time position beginning in 1982.
Southwest Missouri State ranked as one of top rushing offenses in the FCS from 1989 through 1992. Ware was primarily responsible for the outstanding career of Bears’ quarterback DeAndre Smith, who was named the Gateway Football Conference’s Offensive Player-of-the-Decade for the period of 1985 through 1994.
A co-captain and four-year starter, Ware guided the Bears and directed Southwest Missouri State to its last Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship in 1978 and captured the league’s most valuable player award as a senior in 1979. He also established seven career school records during his playing days. An Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America selection as a senior in 1979, Ware received the prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship at the conclusion of his playing career.
Ware’s stay at MS saw the Bears move from NCAA Division II and the MIAA to NCAA Division 1 FCS and the Mid-Continent and Gateway Football Conferences. He earned both his bachelor’s (1980) and master’s degrees (1982) from Southwest Missouri State and in 1996, he was inducted into the athletics program’s hall of fame.
Ware and his wife Judy, have three sons, Jacob, a former Eagle student-athlete, Joshua and Jackson.