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The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Who was Mike Walsh?

Emilia Cafiso
The ticket booth at the front of the Mike Walsh field is being used for games this school year.

Since the beginning of the school year, students have had access to the Mike Walsh field. However, many aren’t aware of who Mike Walsh was to the Lincoln community. 

According to his younger brother, Bob Walsh, Mike Walsh was born in 1942 in Binghamton, N.Y. Mike Walsh entered Lincoln as a sophomore and immediately immersed himself in the world of PIL athletics. He earned three varsity letters in football, basketball and track, graduating as student body president and most valuable player in the PIL in 1960. Paul Duden, a family friend and Lincoln alum, knew Walsh most for his involvement in Lincoln football. 

Duden recalls Mike Walsh’s leadership on his middle school football team when playing his brother Bob Walsh’s team.

“He [was] running the whole show,” said Duden.

According to The New York Times, Walsh went on to play football at Stanford, but only for his freshman year, as a shoulder injury ended his athletic career. After graduating in 1964, he was named to the first class of White House Fellows and met his wife, Joan Royter, whom he married in 1967. They had three children together.  

Walsh earned his law degree at Yale in 1969, then went on to work as a United States Attorney and as chairman and CEO at the Union Pacific Railroad Co. of Omaha. He then worked the same job at Tenneco Inc. until he stepped down due to illness. In 1994, Walsh passed away due to complications from a surgery aimed to remove a brain tumor. The turf field in front of the Lincoln building was named the “Mike Walsh Field”, when the Walsh family donated $250,000 in memory of him. 

Bob Walsh remembers his sibling’s convictions. 

“[Mike] kind of led his life as a fullback, he was always straight ahead, no holds barred, very strong, and very tough,” said Bob Walsh.

Reflecting on his brother’s life, Bob Walsh said his brother always had ambition.

“[He] was a leader at ten years old and was a leader when he died at age 51,” said Bob Walsh.

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