‘D’ is for ‘Dedication’

Coach Walker wins Hawthorne Wesley Coach’s Dedication Award


Anne Chrzanowski

Track and field head coach Chad Walker accepts the Hawthorne Wesley Coach’s Dedication Award. The Starr’s Mill track team had a great showing this season, breaking nine school records en route to Walker earning this honor. The Atlanta Track Club’s highest coaching award can only be earned once in a coaching career.

Ben Barkley, Sports Editor

Being a coach of a high school team takes a lot of dedication, something head track and field coach Chad Walker knows plenty about.

This week, the Atlanta Track Club awarded Walker the Hawthorne Wesley Coach’s Dedication Award. The annual award is given to a girls’ track coach who shows outstanding dedication to the sport. A coach can only earn the award once in a career.

“[Coach Walker] is an amazing guy who is amazingly dedicated to kids,” assistant principal and athletic director Shane Ratliff said. “He has a heart of gold, which is probably his best quality.”

Walker has coached track for the last 22 years, with the first nine years at Wheeler High School in Cobb County, and the last 13 years at Starr’s Mill High School. Besides track, Walker has been coaching the wide receivers on the varsity football team for the last eight years.

“[In track] I love how there are 16 different events where you can find success,” Walker said. “I really try to push that with all the kids that I coach.”

The track team had another tremendous season with Coach Walker at the helm, breaking nine school records and placing well at the state tournament. The boys finished 5th overall, and the girls placed 7th.

“I was honored to win this award,” Walker said. “I try to put my best foot forward every day that I’m coaching.”

Two additional members of the Starr’s Mill track team earned honors from the Atlanta Track Club. Senior Ty Duben was awarded the Track Club Scholarship, and senior Harrison Fultz made the All-Metro Distance Team for his performance in the 800-meter event this year. Fultz won an individual state championship in the 800 with a time of 1 minute and 52.96 seconds.