LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Even before taking part in his first season with the University of Louisville track and field teams, new jumps coach Joe Walker, Jr. accomplished a feat that many coaches only dream of attaining in their role.
Late Wednesday night, Walker directed three-time long jump World Champion Brittney Reese to the Olympic gold medal in the event. After placing sixth in her group in the qualifying rounds with a leap of 6.57m/21-6.75 to advance, Reese secured the gold medal on just her second jump of the finals with a mark of 7.12m/23-4.50. Reese’s jump was more than two inches more than the silver medalist, Russia’s Elena Sokolova.
“Oh, what a night it was,” Walker said through his personal Facebook account. “That pretty much sums it up. God granted my wish that Great Britain and the world would get to see "Great Brittney" and they did. What a great 'big stage' competitor she is. She had a lot of pressure and they say pressure turns coal into diamonds … (I) don't know about that, but she sure is a diamond when it comes to big time jumping.”
Walker, the father of Louisville’s men’s distance coach, Joe Walker, III joined the Cardinals’ family in July after accepting the position in April. He carries a wealth of experience to Louisville, as he owns more than 40 years of coaching experience, including 33 in the Southeastern Conference, and has spent the last 24-straight years building Ole Miss into a consistent national power.
Through Walker's career, his athletes have produced 16 Division I national titles, 147 All-America distinctions and 105 individual conference titles (71 in the Southeastern Conference; 34 in the Gulf South Conference). Walker has guided his squads to eight collegiate conference crowns, and he helped lead the only high school he coached for to a state title.
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