Local News

Ex-Track Coach Gets Young Leaders Across Finish Line

Posted February 8, 2007 6:42 p.m. EST

— Leroy Walker hasn't been a coach for years, but when he sees a young person struggling, he can't help but step in.

Walker was the kind of coach who could make most any athlete better. During his career at North Carolina Central University, where he also served as chancellor, he coached 111 All-Americans, 40 national champions and 12 Olympians. He also served as an Olympic track and field coach and president of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I miss the people. I can do without the other part -- the travel," he said.

But when you ask him what he's most proud of, it isn't athletics.

"I think the proudest thing was my buddies. I think even as a youngster, I helped some of them to change because I never smoked, I never drank, I exercise frequently," he said.

Walker said he's always cared most about setting an example. He's writing a book on leadership and what he calls "followship."

"It is our young people now that are our next group of leaders that are going to make this the community we want it to be. But they have to have some training," he said.

For such leadership efforts, Walker will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Triangle Urban League at the group's Legends Gala on Feb. 16.

This black-tie, fundraising event at the Embassy Suites in Cary will honor the outstanding contributions of some of North Carolina's and the Triangle's most remarkable and inspiring leaders. WRAL anchors Gerald Owens and Pam Saulsby will serve as emcees.