EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Northwestern University football coach Randy Walker has died of an apparent heart attack, the school announced early Friday. He was 52.
Mike Wolf, Northwestern's assistant athletic director for media services, said Walker died suddenly at about 10 p.m. Thursday after experiencing chest pains at his suburban Chicago home.
"This is a devastating loss, not only for our athletic program, but for the entire Northwestern community," Northwestern Director of Athletics Mark Murphy said in a statement released by the school. "Randy truly embraced Northwestern and its mission, and cared deeply for his student-athletes, both on and off the field."
Two months ago, Northwestern gave Walker a four-year extension through the 2011 season. He joined the school in 1999 after nine years at Miami of Ohio.
Walker's Wildcats posted 37 wins, going 7-5 last season. He led the team to three bowl games since 2000, including a 50-38 loss to UCLA in Sun Bowl in December.
Northwestern shared the Big Ten title in 2000. Walker was the first Wildcats coach to guide the team to four seasons with at least six wins since C.M. Hollister in 1899-1902.
In October 2004, Walker checked himself into a hospital after experiencing chest pains before his weekly football season news conference. He was hospitalized with an inflammation of the heart muscle, known as myocarditis, that usually is caused by a virus.
Walker is survived by his wife, Tammy, and two children.
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