Today was a sad day for my alma mater Northwestern University, and particularly the family members of head football coach Randy Walker. Walker died suddenly of a heart attack last night, at the age of 52. He had a heart scare two years ago, and since then had paid close attention to his health. He said he wanted to see his grandchildren.
My freshman year (1995-1996) Northwestern went to the Rose Bowl. They lost that year to Miami (OH), a team coached by Mr. Randy Walker. A few years later, Walker became Northwestern's head coach, and stayed there until the end.
I am an average football fan; certainly not as well versed as some other alumni, but more into it than I sometimes want to admit. Two seasons ago Northwestern beat Ohio State (my hometown team) for the first time in 33 years. I was ecstatic, and literally jumped up and down at the local pub once victory was assured. In some unexplainable way the victory seemed like another validation of my choice to go to Northwestern. I can thank Randy Walker for that feeling.
A message board is online, and the memorial service will be next Thursday. Comments are overflowing; by all accounts Walker was a decent man who will be dearly missed. Although it feels like a cliche, it really is true that we only have one day at a time. Randy Walker had too few.