United States Olympic Committee
Published: April 30, 2012
United States Olympic Committee, LeRoy T. Walker, a leading American track and field coach who was the first African-American to coach a United States men’s Olympic track team and to serve as the president of the United States Olympic Committee, died Monday in Durham, N.C. He was 93.
His death was announced by North Carolina Central University, where he gained coaching renown and was later the chancellor.
When he marched into Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium as U.S.O.C. president at the head of the 645-member American delegation to the 1996 Summer Games, Mr. Walker achieved a celebrated homecoming in an America far removed from his boyhood.
He was born in a segregated Atlanta, the youngest of 13 children. He was the only member of his family to attend college, receiving a bachelor’s degree from a historically black college, Benedict College of Columbia, S.C. He was thwarted in his hopes of becoming a physician because medical school spots for blacks were severely limited and his family was poor.
Nonetheless, he received a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from New York University in physical education and allied fields.
As the head track and field coach at the historically black North Carolina Central in Durham, known as North Carolina College when he arrived there in 1945, Mr. Walker developed Olympic medalists and numerous national champions and all-Americans. (He was the chancellor of the college from 1983 to 1986.)
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