Jim Ballard, born April 16, 1972, has played and studied the game of football and position of Quarterback since he was 5 years old. His first national championship appearance was in 1985 (his 8th grade season), and his goals to master the game as a professional were set in place.
Jim played for the Cuyahoga Falls Black Tigers in high school and continued his career first at Wilmington College for one year where he passed for over 2100 yards as a true freshman then transferred to Mount Union College. While at Mount, Ballard broke numerous school, conference and NCAA records en route to leading the Purple Raiders to their first ever Division III National Championship in 1993. A two time First Team All-American Team member in 1992 and 1993, and an Honorable Mention All-American in 1991, Jim shattered 17 Division III records and threw for over 12,000 yards and over 150 touchdowns. The two-time recipient of the Mike Gregory Award, which is given to the Ohio Athletic Conference's top offensive back, he was a three time All-Conference selection and suffered only one OAC loss during his prolific career. Ballard won the inaugural Melberger Award and the Gagliardi Trophy as Division III's Player of the Year. He owned every Mount Union passing record by the end of his career and still holds the NCAA record for highest number of touchdowns thrown in a playoff game (8). In addition, Jim was selected as the 1993 Joe Fogg Award Winner, given to the top collegiate player in all divisions in the Midwest by the Cleveland Touchdown Club. In 2008, Jim's collegiate greatness was recognized when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Jim played 13 seasons in 10 years of professional football at the position of Quarterback. His NFL career began with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1994. Ballard played in NFL Europe for the London Monarchs in 1995, then for the Scottish Claymores in 1996, where he led them to The World Bowl Championship. The success of that season led him to Atlanta where he signed with the Falcons upon his return to the United States. Heading to Orchard Park, NY, in 1997, he signed with the Buffalo Bills. He would go back to play for the Scottish Claymores in the Spring of 1998, then back to the Bills training camp in August where he was sidelined by a shoulder injury that resulted in surgery. In 1999, Ballard traveled to Canada to play for the Toronto Argonauts. In 2000, he continued his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 2001, Jim played for The Buffalo Destroyers in the Arena Football League, then went out west to play in the XFL for the Las Vegas Outlaws. Ballard completed his Canadian experience with the Toronto Argonauts in 2002. He went back home to the U.S. to play arena football for two more seasons in 2002 and 2003 for the Indiana Firebirds.
As a coach, Ballard has experience at Mount Union College as QB coach in 1994-95, Alliance High School as QB coach in 1996 and 1998, Cuyahoga Falls High School as QB coach in 2001-03, and Assistant Head Coach of the Canton Legends of the American Indoor Football Association in 2005. He was hired in 2013 to be an Elite 11 Coach and was also offered the NCAA Football All-Star Game Head Coach position. Jim has been doing personal instruction and team clinics since 2005 and founded Air It Out, Inc. in 2007, which became Ballard Quarterback Academy in 2015.
In May 2013, USA Football announced that the Division III Quarterback of the Year Award would be re-named The Jim Ballard Trophy.
Ballard began his commentating career providing color analysis for Mount Union football games with Cleveland Legends Joe Tait and Harry Paidis. He continues to commentate weekly high school football and basketball games during season. Ballard also can be heard on sports talk radio every week with "Ballard's Ballers" which showcases which of his QBs are lighting it up all over the state.
College and Pro Team Scouting
Jim is committed to offering every insight and connection he has so that his quarterbacks are paired up with the programs that will offer the most academic and athletic benefit.
Jim Ballard resides in Massillon Jackson, Ohio, with his fiancee, Gretchen Perkins. Their blended family includes daughters Alexis, Hailey, Addison and son, Jack.