James Ward, Ohio University

Ohio University cornerback coach James Ward (center) works with Travis Carrie (18), Devin Bass and Larenzo Fisher (45) prior to the spring game in April 2013. Ward resigned from his post last week, The Messenger has learned.

With just over a month until the opening of fall camp, the Ohio University football team has a hole on its coaching staff.

Ohio confirmed the departure of cornerbacks coach James Ward on Monday. The university has listed an assistant football coach job opening and is seeking applicants.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich, who hired Ward two years ago, issued the standard boilerplate statement in response to inquiries.

“We appreciate all that James (Ward) has done for our program and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Solich’s statement read.

The timing of the move is unusual. Most coaching turnover occurs in the winter or spring months. Ward had worked most of the last month on Ohio’s satellite camps around the state or in recruiting. An NCAA mandated ‘dead period’ of recruiting began Monday.

Ward’s Twitter profile still (as of late Monday afternoon) listed him as the cornerbacks coach at Ohio, and his last update on the social media site was June 20.

At Ohio, Ward helped develop Travis (TJ) Carrie, who was a seventh-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Ward was also instrumental in helping senior CBs Ian Wells, Devin Bass and Brett Layton adapt to new cover schemes last fall. The Bobcats have a host of young cornerbacks lined up behind the three seniors as well.

Prior to coming to Athens, Ward spent the previous five seasons at the University of Nevada. He also had a five-year stint at Colorado State at the FBS level. In his coaching career, he’s had 21 players earn professional contracts, coached four All-Americans, and developed 25 all-conference players.

Sources close to the program indicated Ward’s departure was related to “personal” reasons and that he resigned from his position last week.

According to CoachingSearch.com, Ohio’s opening is just one of four full-time assistant coach jobs currently available in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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