In late October, the students, staff and community were dealt two crushing blows with the loss of two students in a car wreck, followed a week later by the death of assistant football coach Cody McCarty.
Although the odds seemed to be stacked against Timberview, Coach Walker’s faith in his school and his team never wavered. Rather than making excuses, Walker and his Wolves agreed they would dedicate the remainder of their season to McCarty and they were determined to honor his name.
“When the tragedies hit, he took a load on his shoulders and just kind of carried the whole team for a while,” said Derrell Douglas, Timberview High Principal.
Walker led the team to victory and the longest playoff run in Mansfield ISD history, and feelings of loss began to transform into hope. While the on-field success was energizing for Timberview, it was the tidal wave of school pride in the stands that seemed to be healing.
Although it’s obvious to many that Walker’s strength and perseverance played a major role in the outcome of the season, he gives every bit of credit to his team.
“I’m just proud of the life lessons these young men have learned,” Walker said. “Our group of young men did an excellent job.”
Now on the other side of what once seemed like a set of impassable obstacles, Walker and his team are left with a football season they will never forget and a legacy that will live on forever.
The Mansfield ISD administration is proud to present the January 2012 Heartbeat Team Award to Coach Mark Walker for his inspirational strength and spirit on and off the football field.
Here's an excerpt from the nomination essay submitted by Coach Walker’s colleagues:
“Coach Walker should be honored not only for the tremendous heart and character he has shown in his leadership, but also for inspiring the entire MISD community with an incredible football season that will forever represent an expression of love by the Timberview Wolves family for their never forgotten son, Coach Cody McCarty. Coach Mark Walker helped teach an entire community what can happen when we stick together, lean on one another, support one another and put our heart and soul into something in which we all believe.”
About the Heartbeat Team
The Mansfield ISD Heartbeat Team was established to recognize employees who display heart in their lives and inspire other district employees through their actions. Heartbeat Team members are nominated only by other district employees. Winners are selected during the school year from those nominated. Those named to the Heartbeat Team are still eligible for other district honors.