Coach Matt Walker '99 Serves as Honorary Starter for Indy 500 Practice
May 8, 2009
May 8, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — Matt Walker, head football and baseball coach at DePauw and 1999 graduate of the University, served as the honorary starter of today's practice session for the Indianapolis 500. Walker waved the green flag to open practice at noon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after taking a pace car ride around the oval with three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford. (photo: Leigh Spargur/Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
"It was unbelievable," said Walker, who also was interviewed over the venue's video/public address system. "It's hard to put into words because of the appreciation I have for the history and tradition of this place, and it's hard to put into words what it was like to get to meet Johnny Rutherford, go around the track with him, and get to see the cars right there that close. It's something I'll never forget."
Walker has led the football team a 22-8 record over the past three seasons, including two consecutive triumphs over nationally-ranked Wabash College teams in the Monon Bell Classic.
"It's something I'm really into, and I feel I get to be part of the two greatest traditions in sports," the coach said today. "I'm a little biased with the one I'm involved with in football, but very unique. Such a long history and such a deep passion for the people involved in it. To get to be a part of the Monon Bell and the Indianapolis 500, it's a dream come true for me."
In ten years as head baseball coach, Walker has compiled a 253-166 mark. He led the 2001 Tigers to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title and their first NCAA tournament appearance in 22 years.
Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway online.
See the "Monon Memory" of the 2008 DePauw-Wabash game here: [Download Video: "2008 Monon Memory" - 4105kb].
DVDs of the 2001-2008 battles for the Bell remain available in limited quantities. The 2008 game is commemorated in a special, 2-disc edition which includes "Monon Memories" of all 115 games in the historic rivalry. Learn more and access an online order form in this previous story.Back