Monday, December 12, 2011
NASHVILLE (Dec. 11, 2011) – East Tennessee State University head track and field/cross country coach Dave Walker was one of ten inductees to The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, which was announced Sunday.
Walker, who received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from ETSU, has coached 34 All-Americans during his tenure in Johnson City. Not only has Walker led the Bucs to 22 cross country conference championships and 10 track and field conference titles, but he also groomed three Olympians – Ed Leddy, Neil Cusack, and Ray Flynn.
“It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am announcing the 2012 Class of Inductees for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame,” said Bill Emendorfer, president of the state-wide sports organization. “This year we have one of the most diverse classes of all time. It is not a typical class dominated by football players and basketball players but this year we have professionals from NASCAR, fishing, tennis and golf. Plus we have a true American War hero who has a Tennessee football background. This is truly a unique class.”
When asked about being named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Walker was honored and surprised to be selected.
“It was a pleasant surprise when I received the news,” said Walker. “This is quite an accomplishment and it’s an honor to be named to the Hall of Fame. There are a lot of talented people who are already in the Hall of Fame and I’m grateful to join this elite group.”
In addition to being named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Walker was also inducted into U.S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2003) and the ETSU Hall of Fame (1996).
Walker has enjoyed a lot of success in cross country and track and field at ETSU, as he coached Neil Cusack to the 1972 NCAA Cross Country National Championship title, while his famous “Irish Brigade” team was the runner-up the same year. From 1970-83, Walker carried his cross country teams to 14 consecutive NCAA National Championship appearances, which was an NCAA record for a coach at the current time.
In terms of coaches and all-around people, Walker is one of the most well-respected individuals in the industry. Walker has received the U.S. Track Meet Directors Howard Schmertz Lifetime Achievement Award, while the NCAA Men’s South Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year honor has been named on his behalf.
The ten inductees will be enshrined at its annual banquet on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University. Northern Kentucky University will officially join the Atlantic Sun on July 1, 2012.