Joe Walton served as the head coach of the New York Jets from 1983-89 following his term as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Robert Morris University Athletics announced Sunday Joe Walton has passed away. He was 85 years old.
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
Walton entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick in 1957 and was a tight end for Washington (1957-60) and the New York Giants (1961-64). He concluded his seven-year playing career with 178 receptions and 28 touchdowns through 82 total games.
Following his playing days, Walton was a Giants scout from 1965-68 before becoming Big Blue’s wide receivers coach (he served in that role from 1969-73).
His most memorable coaching tenure at the professional level, however, came with the New York Jets. After working as Gang Green’s offensive coordinator from 1981-82, Walton was the Jets head coach from 1983-89 and won 53 total regular-season games and one playoff matchup. His head coaching tenure included a pair of postseason appearances (1985 and 1986 seasons).
On Sunday night, the Jets released a statement via the team’s official Twitter account.
A statement from the New York Jets. pic.twitter.com/Q8XxEAIVHU
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 16, 2021
Notably, Walton was the inaugural head football coach for Robert Morris University and worked in that role from 1994-2013. His tenure there included six Northeast Conference championships along with a 115-92-1 record.
RMU’s home football stadium is now called Joe Walton Stadium and is located in the institution’s hometown of Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
Walton was inducted into the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame in November 2013 and was additionally part of the 2013-14 Northeast Conference Hall of Fame class.
Walton is survived by his wife, Patty Sheehan Walton, who he married in 2011. He and his first wife, Ginger (who died in 2007) had three children — daughters Jodi and Stacy as well as a son named Joe.