Walters passes

Bill Walters, who died on Thursday at the age of 88, ran on a world record-setting 880-yard relay team at the University of North Texas.

Former Greenville High School principal and track and field coach Bill Walters, who was also a standout sprinter and long jumper, has died at the age of 88.

Walters, who is a member of the Greenville Athletic Hall of Honor and North Texas Hall of Fame, died on Thursday. His services are set for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Coker-Mathews Funeral Home in Greenville.

Walters coached four Greenville Lions to state track and field championships and the Lions to seven district team championships during his nine seasons as the Lions’ head track and field coach from 1957-66.

He coached Johnny Cram and Ronnie Merritt to state long jump titles, Max Mainord to a state high jump title and Merlin Eck to state titles in the 100 and 220-yard dashes.

It was no accident that Walters produced winners.

“First of all, I knew a lot of track and second my kids worked harder than anybody else,” Walters said in a 1982 interview.

Walters was a standout long jumper, hurdler and sprinter in high school at Casa Grande, Ariz. and then at Victoria Junior College in South Texas and the University of North Texas in Denton.

He won a national junior college championship in the long jump with a leap of 24 feet, 8 inches and later jumped 25-8 at North Texas.

At North Texas, Walters ran on an 880-yard relay team that broke the world record with a time of 1:24.8. One of his relay teammates was Ray Renfro, who later went on to play wide receiver in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

Walters ran bests of 9.5 in the 100-yard dash, 21.0 in the 220 and 14.0 in the 120-yard high hurdles.

After completing his track and field career at North Texas, Walters served in the U.S. Marines.

Following his military service he began his teaching/coaching career in Greenville. He taught algebra and was an assistant coach in football, coaching the junior varsity and the varsity backfield. Walters was on Ken Kuykendall’s staff when the 9-2-1 Lions won district and bi-district football titles in 1960. That was the Lions’ first district football title since 1944 and would be their only playoff appearance for 35 years.

Walters was later promoted to high school principal and then served as an administrator in the Greenville Independent School District.

He was the club champion in golf for multiple years at Oak Creek in Greenville and held the course record for many years with an 18-hole score of 64.

He was inducted into the Greenville Athletic Hall of Honor in 1982 along with all-state football player Bill Engle, the late coaching legend General Robert Neyland and Gussie Nell Davis, the creator of the Flaming Flashes Drill Team.

Recommended for you