Class of 2013
In 2013 Jim Walker will be entering into his 43rd year of being involved in Illinois Wrestling. Jim’s interest in the sport started with club wrestling in the seventh grade. Attending Illini Bluffs High School in Glasford (Illinois), Walker was coached by the late Hall of Fame coach, Pat O’Connor. He was a team Captain, won 157 matches and placed third in Sectionals his senior year qualifying for the IHSA State Championships only to have an injury keep him from competing.
He went on to wrestle at Blackhawk Junior College where he became an All American and two-time NJCAA National Qualifier. Walker then transferred to Illinois State University to wrestle for the late Hall of Fame coach, George Girardi. At ISU he earned two varsity letters, was a two-year captain of the team, and a NCAA Division I National Qualifier. Walker was a member of the USA team for the Junior Pan American games in Venezuela. He also was awarded the Huddleston Award and Most Valuable Wrestler from Illinois State University.
After graduating from ISU, Walker began his coaching career at the collegiate level by becoming the Assistant Wrestling Coach to George Girardi at Illinois State. At ISU, he earned the Coaching Achievement Award in recognition of the 1982-83 seasons where the team placed 17th in the nation with two wrestlers earning All-American status.
Walker later went on to a 19-year stint as head coach of Westmont Senior High School earning 228 wins producing 12 State Qualifiers, four place winners with one finalist at the IHSA State Championship. During this time Walker also became involved in the IKWF wrestling program and formed the Junior Sentinel’s. When his sons began wrestling, Walker also became involved in the Jr. Rams of Glenbard East and brought a great deal of success to that program, helping to coach a state champion, state runner-up and several qualifiers and placers.
In 2003, Walker became the assistant coach to Kevin Carlson at Glenbard East where he currently remains. Walker has assisted the Rams in producing several outstanding wrestlers including 13 All Conference, multiple Regional and Sectional Champions, 10 State Qualifiers and six state Placers including a state runner up.
Walker received his Bachelor Degree from Illinois State University and a Master’s of Education from St Xavier University. He also coaches football and baseball.
Walker is married to Laura and they have one daughter Erin and two sons, Tim and Patrick. His daughter Erin, was a Division I volleyball player at Western Illinois. Both of his sons were multiple-time IHSA state placers in wrestling and both continue to be involved in Illinois Wrestling with Tim coaching a 2011 IESA state qualifier at Westmont Jr. High School and Patrick currently starting at Heavyweight for the University of Illinois (Champaign).
Wrestling has played a big part in Walker’s life; he gives his all to this sport and encourages a strong work ethic. He has helped to inspire and act as a true mentor to many a young man who ever decided to wrestle.