Local News

NCCU remembers coach, chancellor LeRoy Walker

Posted April 30, 2012 9:58 p.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2012 7:58 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people paid their respects Monday evening to legendary track coach and chancellor emeritus LeRoy Walker at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

Walker died one week ago at the age of 93.

He was the first black person to head the U.S. Olympic Committee and he brought international acclaim to N.C. Central during his four-decade coaching career there.

On Monday, he was remembered as a humble, gentle man with a passion for track and education.

"Our fraternity has four cardinal principles – manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift," said Paul Anderson, Walker's fraternity brother. "He was the personification of each of those attributes."

Friend Gail Jones said it only took Walker a few minutes to turn any stranger into a friend.

"That Southern hospitality was always ingrained in him," she said. "He was just always friendly and kind."

For Walker's son and daughter, he won't remembered as a remarkable coach or an important member of the university community, he will simply be remembered as a great father.

"He was a good dad. We didn't know him as Dr. Walker and the great coach; he was just our dad," said LeRoy Walker Jr.

Carolyn Walker Hopp said it's hard to say goodbye, but seeing so many people and hearing so many fond memories of her father's life brings her some comfort.

Still, she said she'll miss her father, mentor and friend.

"I miss his hands. His hands were always so strong," she said. "Whenever he wanted to say something to me, he would rub the back of my neck, and I'll always miss that."

Walker's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Duke University Chapel. Watch it live on WRAL.com.