Wake Forest University (N.C.) head baseball coach Tom Walter will be honored with the prestigious ABCA/Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award in 2022. Walter will be presented the award alongside 2021 Ethics Award recipients Ryan McGinnis and Lance Spigner during the 2022 ABCA Convention which is scheduled for January 6-9, 2022, at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The American Baseball Coaches Association believes that the highest calling of a baseball coach is to teach life’s lessons and model the character traits of honesty, integrity, respect and personal responsibility. The ABCA Ethics in Coaching Award honors individuals who embody the ABCA Code of Ethics. In 2017, the award was named in honor of ABCA Board Member, Hall of Fame inductee and former Executive Director Dave Keilitz.
Walter begins his 13th season as head coach at Wake Forest in 2022. He is one of just two active head coaches in the country to lead three different programs to the NCAA Div. I Tournament, becoming just the seventh coach all-time to do so.
Prior to the start of the 2011 season, Walter learned that one of his Wake Forest players needed a kidney transplant. That February, just days prior to the start of the season, Walter donated his kidney to outfielder Kevin Jordan, who suffered from ANCA vasculitis, after discovering that none of Jordan’s family members were a suitable match for a donation. The story of Walter’s sacrifice was later featured in the ESPN E:60 documentary series.
Jordan and Walter came together again in 2020 to create Get In the Game, a program designed to educate and empower young people to take action in their homes, schools and communities and build a more diverse and equitable society. In its inaugural season, Get In the Game launched programs for middle and high school students, facilitated by trained educators, where youth, known as “GameChangers,” integrate principles of self-inquiry, cross-cultural communication and social movement strategy to foster challenging yet meaningful conversations on race and social justice, and inspire each other to be more intentional about listening, speaking up and taking action.
As part of ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Awards, Jordan and Walter were honored with the 2021 Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award. Named in honor of former ESPN commentator Stuart Scott, the award celebrates individuals that have taken risks and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports.
Walter’s teams have raised more than $100,000 for various charities including the ALS Association, JDRF, the Vs. Cancer Foundation and Brenner Children's Hospital. For nine straight years, the Demon Deacons have had 100 percent roster participation in community service. The team also took a service trip to the Dominican Republic in 2012.
Under Walter’s leadership, all of the program’s seniors have graduated on time for six consecutive years.
Walter has helped 41 players get drafted or sign pro contracts over the last eight years, including six Deacs drafted among the top 50 picks. Walter oversaw the development of 2016 National Player of the Year Will Craig, who was selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 Draft.
Walter also has experience working with USA Baseball, spending time in the summer of 2016 as a manager of the Stars team at the 17U National Team Development Program.
Prior to Wake Forest, Walter had head coaching stints at George Washington (1997-2004) and New Orleans (2005-09). He also managed the Cape Cod League’s Cotuit Kettleers from 1997-98 and served as Assistant GM of the Greensboro Bats from 1995-96.