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Coach Walsh plays the part

Head football coach Tim Walsh became number one on the all-time win list for football at Portland State. By Walsh winning his 64th game – and the 65th the next weekend – he secured his spot in the PSU record books at the top.

“I really don’t mean to downplay this, but I don’t want his season to be about my 64th or whatever win. It should be about Juston Wood, who is in his fifth year as a senior. I’m just part of a team,” a very humble Walsh said.

Walsh comes from the Bay Area of California. He attended high school there, then moved on to college at the University of California Riverside. After graduation, he went back to teach at his old high school and coached three sports as well, football, basketball and baseball.

In 1986, Walsh was hired as the defensive coordinator at Santa Clara University. One year later, he traveled to Sonoma State to be the offensive coordinator at the Division II level.

Not two years later, Walsh was given the head-coaching job at Sonoma. Without wasting too much time, he achieved success. During the ’91 season, Sonoma – which had never had a winning season – defeated the University of California, Davis, which had not lost the championship for 20 consecutive seasons.

Moving up in the coaching ranks, Walsh went even bigger in 1992. Sonoma, a nonscholarship program, played Portland State and won. That same year, Walsh was given the head-coaching job at Portland State with the departure of Pokey Allen.

“I truly believe the head coach gets lots of the credit when we win and garbage when we lose. The way I see it is that when we win it’s the players, and when we lose its my fault,” Walsh said.

When taking the job at Portland State, Walsh was given a successful program and expected to keep it the same.

“It was a tremendous challenge in following somewhat of a legend in Pokey Allen. Then the transition from D-II to D-I gave many pressures to continue to win in the footsteps of Pokey. Then, of course, my family having to adjust from Southern California to now living in Portland, Oregon,” he said.

Walsh has had his share of accomplishments in his tenure at Portland State. In ’94, the Vikings beat Western Kentucky, which was ranked fifth in the nation in Division I-AA, and did so handily, 49-14.

Another accomplishment was the big overtime win over conference rival University of Montana in 1999. Portland State also beat the University of Hawaii, a Division I-A team, in 2000.

“The people I thank the most are the players who played for me during the transition years from D-II to D-I. And those young people who’ve brought us back to winning again here. I’m fortunate I’ve had a lot of good coaches and a lot of good players that I’ve been able to surround myself with,” Walsh said.

In his career at Portland State, he has sent more than 10 players to the NFL. The most recent teams Walsh has coached have brought back a winning flavor.

“We have brought back that attitude that we can win! That have are a real special group athletically,” he said.

The team has an opportunity now – the opportunity to achieve a championship for not only them, but Walsh, as well. Beating the defending national champion, number-one ranked Montana, wouldn’t be a bad way to get closer to that championship.

“We’ve had the opportunity in the last three years to control our own destiny. Now we have the chance to step forward. This is a team and I have a team role. My role is to make the team ready to play,” Walsh said.