Joe Walton, who was once the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers for two seasons, has died at the age of 85.
Walton, a Beaver Falls native was most recently the head football coach at Robert Morris, a program he was influential in starting up. He served as the school’s head coach from 1994-2013.
Walton started his long playing and coaching career at the University of Pittsburgh in 1953. He was named an All-American for Pittsburgh in 1955 and 1956. As a senior, Walton was selected to be a co-captain and went on to being named to the Academic All-American team.
Walton went on to be selected in the second round (14th overall pick) of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. In total, he played eight NFL seasons with Washington (1957-60) and the New York Giants (1961-64). He finished his NFL career with 2,628 yards and 28 touchdowns.
After his career was over with, Walton went into coaching, beginning first as a scout and wide receivers coach with the Giants before moving over to Washington to be their running backs coach (1974-77). He became Washington’s offensive coordinator in 1978 and held that position for three seasons. He went to become the Jets offensive coordinator for two seasons from 1981-1982 and was promoted to head coach in 1983. In his seven seasons as the Jets head coach, Walton compiled a career record of 54-59.
Walton returned to Western Pennsylvania in 1990 to become the Steelers offensive coordinator under legendary head coach Chuck Noll. He held that job for two seasons and was Noll’s last offensive coordinator. After exiting the NFL coaching ranks, Walton was instrumental in helping Robert Morris start their football program. He was named the first head coach in the team’s 27-year history on July 27, 1993.
In Walton’s 20 year tenure at Robert Morris, the Colonials won three outright regular-season titles in 1997,1999, and 2000. The team shared possession of the regular-season title in 1996, 1998, and 2010.
In 2005, Robert Morris’ football stadium was named after Walton and before his final season as head coach in 2012, he was inducted into the Robert Morris Athletic Hall of Fame. After Walton retired in 2013, he was inducted into the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame.
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