... in corpore sano

Chaplain and Coach represent two sides of life at Moravain

Some coaches might not reschedule an afternoon basketball practice so Doug Spadt ’02, at the end of a day of student teaching, can get there on time.

Some might show annoyance when a player asks to leave practice a little early on Thursday so he can study for a 7 a.m. exam on Friday.

Some regard their players’ time off the basketball court as so much dribbling.

Not Coach Jim Walker.

“They’ve got other things going on in their lives,” he said. “I want each of them to develop as a basketball player and as a student.”

In other words, he believes in this whole liberal arts college thing.

Maybe that’s why he’s not making a big deal out of his 300th win at Moravian: an 86-74 victory over Albright College on January 30.

“He is trying to remain very humble and ‘no fuss’ about this, but we have different ideas!” said Marty Jo Moyle, athletics department secretary.

Those 300 games (and 246 others) have been played over 22 years. (Walker started at Moravian in 1979 but spent the 1994-95 season on leave for a hip replacement.) If you add the games he coached at Drew University, he’s 315-256. Only one other Moravian coach reached the 300 mark: Harvey Gillespie, who coached baseball over 39 years (1935-74).

Walker seems uneasy with the attention, which has included a prominent notice on the NCAA web site (http://www.ncaabasketball.net).

But he did manage to accept a decorated basketball from Curt Keim, vice president for academic affairs, at the Elizabethtown game February 5.

“There’s a lot of values learned through athletics,” he said in his small office in Johnston Hall, which is barely decorated wth a few team photographs and one of his mother in a baseball cap, cheering the ’Hounds.

“You learn about self-discipline and organizing your time. You deal with adversity and disappointment; sometimes you sit on the bench and get no glory at all.

“I believe that helps [the player] develop as a whole person. If there wasn’t that part of it, [coaching} would be a hobby instead of a vocation.”

Walker started coaching as a student at Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey, at a Saturday morning basketball program for kids.

After graduating from Gettysburg College, he taught science and history, coached basketball and soccer (“I learned it as I went along”), and was an assistant principal in junior high and high schools of Cheltenham, Pa., and Hightstown, N.J. He coached basketball at Trenton State and Drew while earning a master’s degree in educational administration at Rider College.

“As much as I like college coaching, if I went back it would be to middle school or elementary school,” he said. “Kids at that age are so very much open to learning and full of excitement.”

He likes basketball, “a fast-paced game that also involves teamwork,” he said. “It’s a game that could become very individual, but it’s best played together as a team.”

Life at a Division III college, where sports still are played for their own enjoyment and challenge, suits him. “The kind of students you get here are almost scholarship players . . . that are going to continue to work hard and develop into better ones.” He seems as proud of Moravian’s almost 100 percent graduation rate for student athletes as he is of his teams’ scores and titles.

“We try to achieve some kind of balance,” he said. “That’s what we’ve most tried to build here in the program: that they be good people and represent the college well, even if sometimes we haven’t won as many games as we’d like.”

Feburary 12, 2002

Mens sana ...
Profile of new chaplain David Bennett
...in corpore sano
Profile of basketball coach Jim Walker
All-campus annoucements
Faculty/staff/student achievements
Calendar of upcoming events
An All-American Sport
Moravian adds lacrosse to men's varsity sports offerings
Wheels on the Bus