Joe Walton led an explosive offense, but it all began to fall apart when he became the Jets coach, and stayed their from 1983-1989.
Back to the “Where Are They Now?” series, but instead of looking back at a player, we are going to look back at a guy that made his stamp on New York Jets’ history as a coach. He actually began as the offensive coordinator, before taking the head coach position for seven years in Green and White. We are talking about Jets’ former head coach, Joe Walton.
Something maybe everyone didn’t know about Walton, I know I didn’t, is that he had an 8 year career as an NFL player. Playing for the Redskins and the Giants, he amassed over 2,600 yards receiving. Take a look:
Not too bad, remembering the era that Walton performed in.
Joe began his career after football as a scout for the rival Giants in the 60’s. He went on to coach the Giants’ WRs before moving along to Washington as first the running back coach, and then the offensive coordinator for 3 years before ending up with the New York Jets.
He began his career with the team as the offensive coordinator for the 1981 season. He spent the next two seasons as the offensive coordinator, and his teams were 9th and third in scoring respectively. 1982 was the year that the team made it to Miami to face the Dolphins in the AFC title game, later known as the “Mud Bowl”, and a Jets’ 14-7 loss.
Soon after that game, then-head coach Walt Michaels was fired by the team, and replaced by Joe Walton. Michaels was a favorite amongst the players, and although there were 2 playoff appearances under Walton, many veterans will tell you that the team started to come apart when Walton took over. His career record with the team was 53-57-1, and his time ended after a 4-12 1989 season, with “Joe Must Go!” coming down from the Meadowlands faithful on a weekly basis.
After a couple of years working under Chuck Noll, coordinating the offense in Pittsburgh, Walton was hired to coach the new football team at Robert Morris University. Here, he hit his stride as a coach, winning 5 Conference Championships, and 2 I-AA National titles. He even was included on the 2004 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
A stadium was erected in his honor, and he is slated to volunteer following the upcoming 2013 season.
Former head coach, Joe Walton.