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Robert Morris' Coach Walton will retire after 2013
The news out of Robert Morris University Tuesday was not that coach Joe Walton had been given a contract extension. It was that Walton, the only head football coach the Colonials have had, will step down after the 2013 season.
That would give Walton, who started the Robert Morris program from scratch in 1993, 20 seasons guiding the Colonials … a nice round figure. But Walton never set 20 years as his magic number.
“If you had told me in 1995 or ‘96 I’d be here 20 years, I’d have said you were crazy,” Walton said, with a laugh. “I’ll have 20 great years here, really, doing what I love to do. That should be enough.”
He will not, however, be leaving the university after the final game of the 2013 season. Walton will remain at Robert Morris as a special assistant to athletic director Craig Coleman.
“That’s the important thing to me,” said Walton, a Beaver Falls resident who will turn 76 in December. “I can’t see myself just sitting around. This [Robert Morris] is like my second home.”
Walton has a 103-73-1 record at Robert Morris, including an 0-3 mark this season. He has guided the Colonials to six Northeast Conference regular-season championships and an undefeated season (10-0) in 2000. The Colonials won the NEC title last season after a 10-year hiatus, finishing 8-3.
His contract was up after this season, and university officials were prepared to re-sign him for three more years.
“When I sat down with [university president Dr. [Gregory] Dell’Omo and Dr. [Craig] Coleman, like we always do, they talked about three years. I said this is my 18th year, and two more is enough,” Walton said. “And then they said about my staying on, and that made me feel good. I’ll help out any way I can.
“I’ve always said when I couldn’t be out on the field with the players that would be it. I don’t want to be a golf-cart coach and that as long as I can be out there I’d still coach.”
Walton laughed when it was suggested that he is one of the few college coaches in the country who could start the season 0-3 and get a contract extension. The Colonials will open NEC play at noon Saturday at Monmouth.
Walton was an All-America end at Pitt and played for the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants in the NFL. He started his coaching career in 1969 with the Giants after serving as a scout for two years. He was an assistant with the Redskins (1974-80) and then went to the New York Jets as an assistant (1981-82.)
He served as the Jets head coach from 1983-89 and was the Steelers offensive coordinator under Chuck Noll from 1990-91. He was out of football until taking the job of building the program at Robert Morris.
By Rich Emert, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette