Robert Morris to Induct Joe Walton into Athletic Hall of Fame Friday
Pittsburgh -- The Robert Morris University Athletic Department will induct head football coach Joe Walton into the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame this Friday, Nov. 15.
The event will take place at the Marriott Pittsburgh Airport (777 Aten Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108). The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails before the formal portion of the event begins at 7:00 p.m. After dinner, Super-Bowl winning quarterback Joe Theismann will deliver a speech before Walton officially accepts his hall of fame honor and delivers an induction speech.
Media wishing to interview either Theismann or Walton will have an opportunity to do so from approximately 6:00 p.m. – 6:40 p.m.
Media who are considering attending the event should contact Spencer Kowitz in the Robert Sports Information Office by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 397-4950.
Walton was an assistant coach and then offensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins during Theismann’s first seven years in the National Football League (NFL).
Walton is the only individual to comprise the 23rd annual class of inductees into RMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The only head coach the program has ever known, the 2013 campaign is Walton's 20th on the sidelines at RMU. At the conclusion of this season, Walton will step down as head coach and serve as special assistant to the athletic director at Robert Morris.
In his years guiding the Colonials, Walton has compiled an overall record of 114-90-1 (.559), including a mark of 73-45 (.619) in the Northeast Conference. Included in that 18-year stretch against league foes are six NEC regular-season championships (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2010).
The one constant associated with the program here in RMU's 20th anniversary season in 2013, Walton was named the first head coach July 27, 1993. He started the program from scratch, completing everything from hiring assistants to purchasing equipment to recruiting student-athletes for the program's inaugural season in 1994. His fingerprints are all over the program, and to prove that, Robert Morris has played its home games since 2005 in a stadium that bears his name.
In 1994, after 35 years in the National Football League, Walton took 64 freshmen at a school that never had football in its 73 years of existence and posted a 7-1-1 record 13 months after being named RMU’s first head coach. That team won its first game 21 days after the start of training camp and won five straight to start the season.
Under Walton's tutelage, the Colonials have claimed outright NEC regular-season titles three times (1997, 1999, 2000) while sharing three others (1996, 1998, 2010). Walton led RMU to back-to-back ECAC Bowl victories in 1996 and 1997, and in 1999 and 2000 he guided Robert Morris to a pair of NCAA I-AA mid-major national crowns according to Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.
In 2010, Walton secured his legacy by engineering the Colonials on an eight-game winning streak for a share of the NEC regular-season title and the NEC's inaugural bid in the NCAA FCS Playoffs. In the process he picked up his 100th career victory in the collegiate ranks.
Over the last 20 years, Walton has also helped a fledgling program send a pair of its brightest stars to the NFL. Inaugural running back Tim Hall (1994-95) was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round (183rd player overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft, while former offensive lineman Hank Fraley (1996-99) spent 10 years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Rams.
Walton had his most recent NFL duty in 1990-91, when he served two years as Chuck Noll’s offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
From 1983-89, Walton led the New York Jets. Also among his years in the NFL were two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Jets (1981-82), seven with the Washington Redskins (offensive coordinator 1978-80; running backs 1974-77) and five with the New York Giants (wide receivers 1969-73).
Walton was twice an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh at tight end and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 1957 NFL Draft. He spent seven years in the NFL as a tight end from 1957 to 1963 with both the Redskins (1957-60) and the New York Giants (1961-63), compiling 178 receptions for 2,628 yards and 28 touchdowns. Upon retiring in 1964, he spent four seasons as a scout with the Giants.
Since returning to the area in 1990, Walton has lived in Beaver Falls, Pa., with his wife, Ginger, who passed away in September of 2007. He has two daughters, Jodi and Stacey, and one son, Joe. Walton married his second wife, Patty Sheehan, Dec. 10, 2011, and the couple resides in Beaver Falls.
Walton’s NFL protégés include Rich Kotite, Bud Carson, Theismann, Fran Tarkenton, Norm Snead, Ken O’Brien and Richard Todd.
ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY
Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.