By RICK PETERSON
Frank Walton, a coaching fixture in Topeka high school football for more than two decades, passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 81 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Visitation will be 10 a.m. Friday, January 20, at Topeka Bible Church, 1101 SW Mulvane St in Topeka.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Walton will be privately inurned in Rochester Cemetery.
Walton took over a struggling Topeka West football program and led the Chargers to 12 winning seasons in a 16-year run from 1977-1992, posting an 89-56 record and posting at least six wins 10 times.
After stepping down at Topeka West, Walton later returned to coach at Topeka High from 1994-1999. Walton also had a stint as an assistant coach under his son, Chris, at Cair Paravel Latin when that school was getting its football program off the ground.
Walton, who also served as Topeka West's golf coach, was inducted into the Topeka West Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
Walton grew up in Beaver Falls, Pa. as part of a famous football family.
Frank's father, the later Frank "Tiger'' Walton, played in the National Football League and was an assistant coach for Washington and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Frank's older brother, Joe, played eight seasons in the NFL and served as the head coach of the New York Jets for seven seasons while serving as an assistant for the New York Giants, Jets, Washington and the Steelers. Joe Walton, who passed away in 2021, finished his coaching career with a long stint as the head coach at Robert Morris University.
All three of the Waltons attended the University of Pittsburgh.
During his coaching career at Topeka West Walton coached several outstanding players, including star quarterback Warren Seitz, who went on to play at Misssouri and in the NFL before succeeding Walton as the head coach at West.
At Topeka High, Walton's stars included Termaine Fulton, who went on to become a standout wide receiver at Kansas.
Walton is survived by his wife, Nancy, whom he married in 1963. Together, the Waltons had three sons -- Brian (Shelly), Rob (Gretchen), and Chris (Lisa) -- and eight grandchildren.