Permission provided by the Cumberland Times-News
Jim Walton, the longtime softball and basketball coach who recently retired from coaching, will receive the Chet Payne Special Recognition Award on Sunday during the 72nd Dapper Dan Sports Award Banquet, which will be held Sunday, 4 p.m., at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club with light appetizers available starting at 3 p.m.
Walton, whose coaching career spans over 30 years and has coached everything from pee wee baseball to high school and college basketball and softball since 1986, announced his retirement from West Virginia University Potomac State College in August after spending 18 years with the Catamounts’ athletic department.
He started as an assistant softball coach during the 2002 season and was named the head softball coach in 2008. Walton led the Catamounts for 12 seasons, amassing a record of 293-174-1.
Walton assumed the head coaching duties of the women’s basketball team for the 2004-2005 season and compiled a 15-year record of 261-120. He also coached the Potomac State volleyball team for two seasons beginning in 2004. Since 2004, He has also held the assistant athletic director position.
“During the past 15 years, Coach Walton has served Potomac State College in a variety of ways,” said Lucas Taylor, dean of Student Experience. “He has led both the women’s basketball and softball programs to regional prominence and given Potomac State national recognition by competing in the NJCAA Division II national tournament four straight years.
“With all the success he has had on the field, we are most grateful for the positive impact he has had on the lives of our student athletes. He has coached with the highest level of integrity and with the goal of always putting the best interest of the student-athlete first. His former and current players, the athletic department and this college owe Jim a great debt of gratitude for all he has done during his tenure at Potomac State. We wish him and his family nothing but the best in his retirement.”
During Walton’s 12-year tenure as the softball coach, the team achieved a .630 winning percentage, finishing six seasons with 25 or more wins and winning 32 games in each of the 2010 and 2016 seasons. Under his tutelage, the team won Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship eight consecutive seasons, from 2008 to 2015. Additionally, four consecutive NJCAA Region XX Championships, from 2015 through 2018, capped his softball squad’s success, sending them to the NJCAA Division II Softball Championships in Clinton, Mississippi.
Walton was named WPCC Softball Coach of the Year seven times.
On the hardwood, Walton’s women’s basketball teams have been equally prosperous. In his 15 years at the helm, he led the Lady Catamounts to a .680 winning percentage, and they were Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference champions nine times and won NJCAA Region XX Division II championships in 2005 and 2007.
Walton was named WPCC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year seven times in 15 seasons and was twice-named NJCAA District J Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, in 2005 and 2007.
“Wins and losses are the easiest form of measuring achievement,” Walton said. “From that perspective, we have been successful at Potomac State. In basketball and softball, the young women worked hard toward common goals and developed a track record of continued success. That makes our record satisfying.”
Reminiscing over his coaching career, Walton points out that winning percentage and championships are not the No. 1 source of pride — the athletes and the atmosphere within his softball and basketball programs are.
“A number of young ladies have come through our programs and went on to thrive as athletes in four-year schools,” Walton said. “We have numerous athletes that excelled academically at Potomac State and beyond. A large percentage of our women have moved on to successful professional careers.
“That’s what I am most proud of. I’d like to think our program helped our athletes mature and develop, not only as softball or basketball players, but also beyond that, in all facets of their lives.”
For Dapper Dan tickets, contact the Sports Shoppe at 301-722-5490.