Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Athletic Department is proud to announce the naming of the sand pit on the Laker track after our long-time assistant track and field coach, Kermit Walker. Kermit was the assistant coach in charge of long-jumpers and triple-jumpers during his nearly 20 years of service at Southwestern. During this time, he coached numerous Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) champions and All-Americans. Dan Neal, retired Track and Field coach shared that, “Kermit was not just my assistant coach for the jumps, he was an icon in the Oregon track and field community.”
Kermit continued to coach well into his 80’s and even found time to teach part-time for the physical education department. Kermit created and implemented a fitness class for older adults on campus, which he continued to teach even last year while he battled cancer. Kermit has coached numerous student-athletes who love and adore him to this day. But Kermit was also an extremely competitive individual. Kermit himself continued to compete on the national stage in master’s track meets and was at one time ranked #1 in the world for his age group in the triple jump.
Retired Athletic Director John Speasl says of Kermit, “This man is a role model for all of us, the college, students, coaches, and the community, are all better for having Kermit Walker touch our lives.”
The athletic department believes that this small gesture will be a testament to his many years of service and his passion for helping student-athletes. The plaque is designed locally by Action Trophies in Coos Bay and will have his name, years of service and his favorite quote: “Every jumper deserves a perfect pit.” Kermit was known for constantly grooming the pit at SWOCC and even when on the road would take the rake from others to make sure the pit was perfect for all the jumpers during a meet. The plaque will be placed on the outer edge of the pit for the next generation of Lakers to honor Kermit.
To learn more about Southwestern’s athletic programs visit https://swoccathletics.com/.