A legendary football name from Western Pennsylvania has passed away, as Beaver Falls native Joe Walton has died at the age of 85.
The RMU Department of Athletics is sorry to learn of the passing of Joe Walton, the architect of @RMU_Football.
— RMU Athletics (@RMUAthletics) August 15, 2021
Walton started his long playing and coaching career at the University of Pittsburgh in 1953. While at Pitt, Walton was named an All-American in in 1955 and 1956. During his senior season, Walton was selected as a co-captain as well as being named to the Academic All-American team.
Following his college career, Walton was drafted in the second round (14th overall pick) of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Walton went on to play eight seasons in with Washington (1957-60) and the New York Jets (1961-64). Walton finished his pro career with 2,628 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Following his playing career, Walton transitioned into coaching starting as a scout and wide receivers coach with the New York Giants before moving over to Washington as their running backs coach (1974-77) before getting his first chance as an offensive coordinator with Washington (1978-80) and the Jets (1981-82).
Coach Joe Walton passed today. He was my coach, and my friend. He taught me how to play QB at the pro level. He touched so many lives whether it was in pro ball or at the college level. We all have a part of Joe with us. Rest In Peace Pops.
— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) August 15, 2021
Walton received his first and only chance as an NFL head coach with the Jets, where he served from 1983-89 and finished with a career record of 54-59.
Walton returned to Western Pennsylvania to finish his coaching career serving as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1990-91) before becoming instrumental in the start up of the Robert Morris football program. He served as head coach from 1994-2013.
Paying tribute to a great Pitt Man. RIP Coach Walton pic.twitter.com/5CLbvuANaf
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) August 15, 2021
Coach Walton was more than just a football coach. He was a great man who taught us life lessons to become better people. His teachings reached far beyond X’s & O’s. Teachings that I share with my team today. Thank you for everything you have done for me! #ripcoachwalton pic.twitter.com/0B3zNG578g
— Jake Nulph (@CoachNulph) August 15, 2021
Robert Morris inducted Walton into their Hall of Fame in 2013 and then named their football stadium after him.
Walton’s longtime wife of 47 years, Ginger, passed way in 2007. He is survived by his three children, Jodi, Joe and Stacy.
We lost a great coach and mentor today. It wasn’t just about the X’s & O’s. He wanted nothing more than for all us to become great men for our family and community. W/O his guidance and leadership I wouldn’t be where I am today. Love you always coach. @RMU_Football #RMULegend pic.twitter.com/KUa3Z9RD5V
— H.Fraley (@HFraley3) August 15, 2021