Kennedy Completes Rebel Hoops Staff with Former Pupils

April 21, 2006

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy completed his first Rebel staff Friday with a pair of former pupils, as he announced Torrey Ward as an assistant coach and Bill Armstrong as Coordinator of Basketball Operations. Both appointments are pending approval of the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Birmingham natives, Ward and Armstrong played together under Kennedy while he was an assistant at UAB. Their time with the Blazers produced two 20-win seasons and a Division Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 1999.

"We're excited about bringing both Torrey and Bill into the Ole Miss basketball family," said Kennedy. "They're both bright young men who we feel are going to bring tremendous value into our current situation. I have known both of them for quite some time and feel very confident in their ability to help our program."

Ward spent the last three seasons on the Jacksonville State staff and coached alongside current Ole Miss assistant Michael White there during the 2003-04 campaign. After gaining experience as a volunteer coach that year, Ward served as an assistant coach for JSU the past two seasons. This year, Ward helped the Gamecocks, a preseason 10th-place pick in the Ohio Valley Conference, win 10 of their final 13 games to finish fourth in the league standings and reach the semifinals of the OVC Tournament.

Before entering the coaching ranks, Ward played professionally in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Shanghai Sharks, where he was a teammate of the NBA's Yao Ming. As a member of the Shandong in 2002, Ward helped the Bulls win the conference championship before falling in the CBA finals. He finished fourth in the league in scoring and also won the league's slam dunk contest.

Ward competed in 110 games with 74 starts and scored almost 800 points during his four years at UAB (1997-2000). He was voted as the Conference USA Runner-up Defensive Player of the Year to Kenyon Martin and earned C-USA Player of the Week honors three times. He graduated from Alabama-Birmingham in 2001 with a degree in Justice Sciences.

Ward, 27, is married to the former Charmaine Williams of Birmingham, and the couple has a daughter, Tara Lynn.

"I'm extremely excited to be at Ole Miss," said Ward. "It's a great opportunity for me to work at a program of this level and to work for a very good coach in Andy Kennedy. I'm ecstatic to be a part of this great staff."

Coordinator of Basketball Operations Bill Armstrong


Armstrong has spent the last three years as an assistant coach at Birmingham-Southern. In his first season with the Panthers in 2003-04, Armstrong helped the team to a 20-7 record and a 12-4 mark in conference play, earning a share of the Big South regular-season championship. Birmingham-Southern posted a 19-9 finish this year.

Armstrong joined the BSC staff after serving as an assistant at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., where he helped lead the Indians to a 23-9 record and a second-place finish in the Panhandle Conference in 2002-03.

Prior to his stint at Chipola, Armstrong was a graduate assistant for UAB during the 2001-02 campaign under Murray Bartow. Armstrong was a four-year letterwinner for the Blazers (1998-2001) and served as team captain as a senior. He was the recipient of the Barbara Hallerman Scholarship for Leadership and graduated from Alabama-Birmingham in 2001.

The 28-year-old Armstrong and his wife, Kenna, are the parents of two daughters, Ella Michele and Sara McKay.

"This is an incredible opportunity," Armstrong said. "I'm thrilled at the chance to work in the SEC, with players at the highest level of basketball. It's especially great to be able to work with Coach Kennedy, who I got the experience of playing under at UAB."

 

 

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