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Joe Walton (1935–2021), former New York Jets head coach

by Linnea Crowther

Joe Walton was the head coach of the New York Jets in the 1980s and went on to build a football program at Robert Morris College.

Player and coach

Morris played college football at the University of Pittsburgh, making appearances with the Panthers in the 1956 Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl. He was named an All-American in 1955 and ’56. Walton went on to play for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in the 1950s and ‘60s. After his 1964 retirement from his playing career, Walton coached the Giants and Redskins before joining the Jets coaching staff in 1981 as offensive coordinator. He was named head coach in 1983 and led the Jets for seven seasons, taking them to the postseason twice. After being fired from the Jets in 1989, Walton was offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers briefly before being hired by Robert Morris University in 1993 as head coach to their brand-new football team. There, he built a successful team, and in  2005, the school’s football stadium was named for him.

Tributes to Joe Walton

Full obituary: The New York Times

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