Louisville, Ky. — A pair of former Western Kentucky University student-athletes were among the eight individuals inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame Wednesday at a banquet held at the Galt House Hotel West.
Dale Lindsey and Jamie Walz-Richey were honored, joining a group that also included William Farish, Joe Federspiel, Joe Kendall, Jamal Mashburn, Tubby Smith and Bob White.
Lindsey, who was born in Bedford, Ind., but grew up in Bowling Green, became the fourth football player in WKU history to have his jersey retired during a ceremony on Sept. 15 last season. In two years on the Hill, he earned Associated Press All-America honors at linebacker while helping the Hilltoppers go 16-3-2 (81%), which included a 10-0-1 record, the Ohio Valley Conference championship and a victory in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla. in 1963. Lindsey’s efforts contributed to a defensive unit that allowed an average of less than 7.5 points a game over that two-year span, as the ’63 club surrendered just 484 yards (only 44.0 yards per game) on the ground in all 11 outings that fall — both figures that are still school defensive records.
He decided to forego his final year of eligibility at the collegiate level after the Cleveland Browns made him a seventh round draft choice in 1965. Lindsey went on to play nine seasons at middle linebacker for the Browns, as the franchise never had a losing season, won five division championships, and participated in the playoffs six times. During that stint, he also played in the first-ever ABC Monday Night Football game, a 31-21 Cleveland win over the New York Jets on Sept. 21, 1970, in Cleveland.
Following his retirement at the conclusion of the 1973 season, Lindsey immediately began what would become a 32-year career in the football coaching ranks. Twenty-eight of those came at the professional level, including 20 with teams in the National Football League. During the first of his two stints with San Diego (1992-96), Lindsey helped guide the Chargers to two AFC West titles, three playoff appearances and one AFC championship (1994), and he also helped the Chicago Bears post a 13-3 mark on their way to the franchise’s first NFC Central title in 11 years during the 2001 campaign.
Lindsey, who was inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, was a two-time all-OVC pick and is a member of both the OVC Half Century Team and the OVC 40th Anniversary Team.
A native of Fort Thomas, Ky., Walz lettered four years from 1997-00, helping the Lady Topper basketball program to a 91-35 (72.2%) record and three NCAA Tournament appearances. During that time, the guard scored 1,044 points, grabbed 352 rebounds, handed out 336 assists and was credited with 148 steals while playing an average of more than 26 minutes per game. WKU never won fewer than 21 contests in her time on the Hill, finishing 22-9 while sharing the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship her freshman year before putting together a 26-9 mark en route to the second round of the NCAA Tourney in 1997-98. That squad finished in the top 20 of both the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. The Lady Toppers also posted a 22-10 record, including a victory over Marquette in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, her senior season.
That year, Walz connected on a then school-record 94 three-point field goals — which is still the second-highest mark in WKU history — while averaging 15.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest to go along with 116 assists, 63 steals, a 37.6 percent success rate from beyond the arc and an 81.7 free-throw percentage. In addition to being named first-team all-Sun Belt, she was voted to the league’s all-tournament team after helping lead the Lady Toppers to the event’s championship game, where they would fall by three points at the final buzzer to third-ranked Louisiana Tech. After posting a career-high 29 points in a semifinal victory over Florida International, Walz collected a 22-point, 10-assist double-double in the title contest against the Lady Techsters.
Following the 2007-08 season, Walz still ranks fourth in school history with 182 three-pointers and 10th in steals, and she is also ninth after converting 75.6 percent at the free-throw line. Her six threes in a 75-68 victory at Miami (Fla.) her senior year equalled a school standard at the time and still stand fourth on the game record list.
She came to WKU from Highlands High School, where she was named both the Gatorade Circle of Champions and Parade Magazine national Player of the Year in 1996 as well as Kentucky’s Female Athlete of the Year by the AP. Walz scored a state-record 4,948 points, adding 1,762 rebounds, 1,354 assists and 1,004 steals. Her efforts helped the Bluebirds post a 146-49 (74.9%) record during her six-year high-school career.