Former Jets HC Joe Walton Dies At Age 85

Adam WellsAugust 16, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 7: Offensive coordinator Joe Walton of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Three Rivers Stadium on October 7, 1990 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Chargers 36-14. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Former Robert Morris University and New York Jets head coach Joe Walton died on Sunday at the age of 85.

Robert Morris' athletic department announced the news in an official statement

The Jets also issued a statement, reflecting on Walton's time with the franchise:

New York Jets @nyjets

A statement from the New York Jets. <a href="https://t.co/Q8XxEAIVHU">pic.twitter.com/Q8XxEAIVHU</a>

Joe Theismann, who was coached by Walton for three seasons with the Washington Football Team from 1978-80, posted a message on Twitter about his former offensive coordinator:

Joe Theismann @Theismann7

Coach Joe Walton passed today. He was my coach, and my friend. He taught me how to play QB at the pro level. He touched so many lives whether it was in pro ball or at the college level. We all have a part of Joe with us. Rest In Peace Pops.

Walton was a tight end as a player at the University of Pittsburgh and a tight end and defensive end during his eight-year NFL career from 1957 to '64. He played for Washington and the New York Giants before retiring. 

After spending four years as a scout with the Giants from 1965 to '68, Walton was named New York's wide receivers coach in 1969. He spent five seasons in that role before going back to Washington as running backs coach. 

Washington later promoted Walton to offensive coordinator prior to the 1978 season. The Pennsylvania native got his first head coaching job in 1983 with the New York Jets. 

Walton went 53-57-1 in seven seasons as an NFL head coach with the Jets. He led the team to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1985 and '86. 

After a two-year stint as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Walton finished his career at Robert Morris for 20 seasons from 1994 to 2013. He went 115-92-1 and led the program to six Northeast Conference titles, including five straight from 1996 to 2000. 

Robert Morris' primary sports facility, Joe Walton Stadium, opened in 2005 and was named after the legendary Colonials coach. It currently serves as the home for the football program, as well as the men's and women's lacrosse teams. 

Walton was inducted into the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame and Robert Morris Athletics Hall of Fame.