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Adam Walker Chosen for 2016 AFA Hall of Fame Class

Adam Walker with the Raiders in 1991An All-City option quarterback at Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, Adam Walker knew his future in semi-pro football wasn’t going to come under center or in the shotgun.

“I was an option quarterback,” recalls Walker. “I could throw the ball but I was nowhere near a Charlie Bliss,” he states humbly. “I thought I could run the ball pretty well.”

The first year was a challenge and the coaching staff spent a lot of time working with Walker as he transitioned to being in a stance in the backfield. It all paid off. That first year, Walker earned all-league honors, an award he would get six more times. He was the league most valuable player once and now he has been named to the American Football Association (AFA) Hall of Fame.

“I was completely honored,” said Walker when asked what he initially thought when he was notified he was selected for the AFA Hall of Fame. “I had a great career but that’s a whole other level to be in the hall of fame.

Walker was nominated by former Raiders great Phil Micech, a player Walker had to try and run against in practice. Walker felt that the fact Micech, a defensive player, nominated him for the hall of fame made it an even greater honor.

“I thought it was a great honor because he’s somebody on the defensive side of the ball who thought enough of my contributions,” said Walker.

During high school, Walker was recruited by legendary Carthage College football coach Art Keller. He lettered three years at Carthage and was the team most valuable player one season while playing quarterback.

Adam Walker Yearbook PhotoHe met his future wife, Glynis, while at Carthage. Glynis was a stellar collegiate athlete. A 1999 inductee into the Carthage College Athletics Hall of Fame, she lettered three times in track and field and four times in volleyball. Glynis won the 1983 national title in the high jump at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

Walker, who had heard about the Raiders from teammate Tim Rucks and linebackers coach Terry Converse, wanted to play football right after graduation but took a year off.

“I wanted to come out when I graduated college but real life took over,” remembers Walker.

Walker did try out in 1986 and played with the Raiders from 1986 through midseason in 1991. After that, he took his talents to the Milwaukee Express and Milwaukee Flame. Walker was also one of the players that got to throw on a National Football League (NFL) uniform during the 1987 player’s strike when he played a couple of games with the Minnesota Vikings. That opportunity to play in the NFL is one he’ll never forget.

“It was an enjoyable time meeting new people,” remembers Walker. “I enjoyed it while it lasted. It was a great experience and I learned a lot and it’s something nobody can take from me – playing at Soldier Field and the Metrodome was great.”

The thing that stood out to him most from his playing days, though, was something that didn’t even happen on American soil.

“Playing in that game in Ottawa,” he remembers. “It was in a storm, in another country, and pulling out a national championship. It was absolutely crazy.”

That game, known as the “Snow Bowl,” not only reshaped the Raiders into what the organization is today, a community-owned, 501c(3) not-for-profit, but it cleared the way for dozens of other semi-pro teams to now have that same status. Did Walker have an idea just how big of a deal that game was at the time?

“No, not me personally,” remembers Walker. “That was my younger days where I was there to practice and play ball and enjoy the moment.”

Adam Walker with the Raiders in 1991Walker says the time to reflect since he hung up the cleats and began coaching himself has helped him to see how big of a deal it was and what it meant to the Raiders organization.

“I can definitely appreciate it now – the Joe Mooney’s, Bob Milkie’s – how organized it was,” said Walker. “They made it enjoyable because we didn’t need to worry about anything except playing.”

Walker has stayed active in sports since he left the semi-pro football world. He was the head football coach at both North High School and Vincent High School in Milwaukee, spending four years at each school. He then joined the Carthage College coaching staff as a defensive backs coach while his former teammate on the Raiders, Rucks, was the head coach. After three years at Carthage, he took a position at Concordia University Wisconsin as the head track and field coach and running backs coach on the football team.

He is now the defensive coordinator for the Falcons, who consistently have one of the best defenses in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. He is joined by several former ex-Raiders players or coaches on the staff including Arnie Garber, Greg Fictum, and Denny Galipo.

“We still have some laughs and reminisce,” notes Walker. “Arnie Garber is around my office every day telling stories and it’s great having those guys on staff because they’re proven winners.”

Garber was instrumental in getting the program going in 1980. Having those proven winners on staff is something that Walker believes is very important to the success of the Falcons program.

“I think it helps our overall aura because we expect to win and we believe we’re going to win and that helps our kids,” says Walker.

Walker and Glynis have one son, Adam Brett Walker II, that is a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization. He’s a power-hitting outfielder currently playing for the Twins AAA affiliate in Rochester, New York, and the home runs he hits are reminiscent of the long balls hit by Mark McGwire. Has the elder Walker’s experienced helped him mentor his rising star son?

“Yeah, I think so,” says Walker. “Between me and his mother who is a national champion, we’ve been able to help instill in him the importance of work, integrity, and being a team player.”

The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. The humility that is evident in the father is one of the things that scouts and coaches note about the son. Following the 2014 Florida State League All-Star Home Run Derby, which the younger Walker won, he stayed and signed autographs for every single fan.

Adam Brett Walker will become the 20th Raiders player and the 32nd overall member of the Raiders or Gladiators inducted into the AFA Hall of Fame when the AFA officially holds the ceremony on July 1, 2016, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.