Edward J. Walsh, Ed.D. '42
A native of Mohawk, N.Y., Dr. Edward Walsh came to Cortland in 1937, as a nontraditional student, and displayed a varied range of interests. The Student Council president as a senior, Walsh held offices in the College’s American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation organization, the Beta Phi Epsilon fraternity, and was sophomore class president, yearbook art editor, and a member of the Youth Movement and the Alpha Beta honor society. In athletics, Walsh competed in soccer for a year and, after being injured in football, helped coach the varsity backfield. He excelled in basketball, where he played four years, was team captain and Most Valuable Player. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cortland in 1942, and later a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia Teacher’s College.
From 1942 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1948, Walsh taught physical education and coached football and basketball at LeRoy (N.Y.) High School. In the years between, Walsh enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a Lt. Junior Grade in the South Pacific during WWII. Walsh began teaching physical education and coaching football at Manhasset High School in 1948. Eight years later, he became district director of health, physical education and recreation at Manhasset while continuing to coach football until 1969. After retiring in 1978 he spent the next two years on the Brown University football staff.
During his life Dr. Walsh was an educator and a change agent, holding many positions in civic and professional organizations and receiving many honors. He was a gentleman, and a staunch proponent of education and good sportsmanship. Respected by members of the communities where he worked, his colleagues, and especially his players, many believed while teaching the basics of football he was really teaching the basics of a successful life. “At Manhasset High School there was a football coach named Ed Walsh, and I will tell you about him because he was my idea of a saint,” wrote the NFL’s greatest running back, Jim Brown, in his book Off My Chest. “He was a slender, soft-spoken man but one whose actions made you realize that real strength was not physical strength but strength of character.” Although much of his happiness came from coaching football, with his strong emphasis on helping young adults prepare for life through sport, he was a pioneer in drug education/academic programs for Manhasset.
Ed Walsh was inducted to the Park Center Wall of Fame at SUNY Cortland in 1988.
He passed away in 2009, having celebrated 96 birthdays, still working out three days a week. He often said “exercise is my second religion”.