Ron Ward of Johnstown, a motorcoach driver for Brown Coach of Amsterdam, received the thrill of a lifetime when he received an NCAA ring rewarding him for his 30 years as the driver of 2014 NCAA Ice Hockey Champions Union College of Schenectady.Ward received a diamond/ruby-encrusted ring with his name on it in a lighted box etched with his name on it during a presentation from Union Head Hockey Coach Rick Bennett on the bus from Union College to RPI on Halloween.Bennett told Ward, “I’ve got something for you and you deserve this,” amid the Dutchmen cheering him on. Last year, in the Dutchmen’s bid for the NCAA title, they rode in their “lucky bus” #108 (a Prevost) with Ward at the helm. Union College won its first hockey title by defeating Minnesota 7-4 on April 13th.
Ward noted that he’s received hats and shirts while serving several Union College coaches over the years but never expected anything quite like this, adding, “It’s HUGE!” He began his career with Brown Coach in 1983. Brown began serving as the Official Carrier of the Union College Hockey Team in 1984. Ron has traveled more than 200,000 miles with the Union Hockey Team.
Since that time, he has driven Union College Football, Men’s Lacrosse and Men’s Soccer teams as well. Ward also is Brown Coach’s longest tenured driver.He noted that prior to driving Coach Bennett and his team, he worked with former hockey coaches Nate Leaman, Kevin Snedden, Bruce Delventhal, Stan Moore and Charlie Morrison. To put that driving record into perspective, that means Ward has driven the Union College Hockey Team to a National Championship, two Cleary Cups, three Conference Tournament Championships and two Frozen Fours. Ward noted, “You get to know the groups and make a lot of friends” when serving a group exclusively over the course of 30 years. Brown Coach Vice President Stephen B. Brown, P.E., a Union College alumni, worked with a contact at Union to assist the college in ordering the ring.