Baytown sports legend celebrates 90th birthday

Joy Walker and her husband and former Baytown basketball coach Woody Walker celebrate his 90th birthday Tuesday. (Photo by Robert Bailey)

A legend of Baytown sports celebrated his 90th birthday Tuesday.

Woody Walker, the first boys basketball coach at Sterling High School, celebrated among friends, family, and former Ranger hoops alumni to embrace his big day.

Ronnie Garrett, who was a member of the first RSS graduating class in 1968, played two year for Walker and helped organize the party for his old mentor.

“He was simply the best and several of his players still come to Baytown from out of town and we get together about 3-4 times a year to go out to eat and he goes with us,” Garrett said. “He was about pressure and get in a lot of running.”

The coach himself enjoyed the day with his cake and gifts and being able to catch up with his former charges who kept Walker and his wife Joy company on the big day.

“I am doing great today and celebrating my 90th birthday with some of the greatest people,” Walker said. “I have great memories of them. They brought a beautiful cake with a basketball on it. It’s just a great day.”

After his time as a player at Texas A&M, Walker came to Baytown and became the boys basketball coach at Baytown Junior School from 1956 to 1966. His teams compiled a 185-84 record.

In the fall of 1966, when Ross S. Sterling opened, Walker became the Rangers head basketball coach. During his 22-year tenure, Walker recorded 379 wins, had 15 winning seasons with several district championships and playoff appearances.

As a tribute to his accomplishments, Goose Creek CISD named the basketball court at Winnie Brown Gymnasium at Sterling in his honor. 

He also coached the boys golf team to 13 district titles and a trip to the state tournament in 1975.

“We all have our masks on and are trying to avoid getting the virus,” Walker said. “But it’s been a special time for me. It’s good to have a birthday party celebration. I got birthday cards from people all over the country who played for me in junior high and at Sterling. It’s just a great day. I’ve had 90 great years. I have had nothing but great experiences.”

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