Not even three days after he was handed the task of building a football program from scratch, Joe Walton thought he must be crazy.
Two decades later, he soon will be known as something else -- a Hall of Famer.
Robert Morris announced the 23rd annual class of its Athletic Hall of Fame, a group that includes only Walton, who will be retiring at the end of the 2013 season, his 20th with the school.
"It's been a great run here at Robert Morris," said Walton, 77. "Not only have I enjoyed it tremendously, but the people here have been so good to me and good to the program.
"It's a very big honor for me. This has become like my second home. I certainly am very proud."
Walton's resume, which included stints as head coach of the New York Jets and offensive coordinator of the Steelers, was not a traditional one for a Division I-AA coach.
But, when Robert Morris approached the Beaver Falls native in 1993 about leading its newly formed football program, he accepted the position.
In his 19 seasons with the Colonials, Walton's record is 109-86-1, a run that has included a 70-44 mark in the Northeast Conference and six regular-season conference championships.
Robert Morris' stadium, which opened in 2005, is named after Walton, the man who had to purchase the team's equipment before its first year of competition.
Walton, a former NFL end, will be formally inducted Nov. 15, the night before he coaches his final home game.
"I think the time is right, but how I'm going to feel?" he said of his retirement.
"I have no idea."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG