Eric Peterson, Published April 04 2013
MSUM's Walthall has ties to Final Four coaches
That’s when Walthall – the head men’s basketball coach at Minnesota State Moorhead – was head coach at NCAA Division III Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
The assistant was Greg Heiar.
“He had this broken foot, and he would limp like crazy and guys would make fun of him all the time,” Walthall said with a laugh. “I wish we had a video of it.”
This weekend Heiar will be coaching on the biggest stage in men’s basketball. He is an assistant coach for Wichita State, which is playing in the Final Four in Atlanta.
“I noticed what a terrific recruiter he was, and then he really developed into a fine basketball coach,” Walthall said. “Recruiting, you’ve just got to love it, and he loved recruiting.”
Walthall has a coaching connection to the Michigan staff, too.
Wolverines assistant LaVall Jordan (a former Butler player) and Walthall were both on the Iowa staff under former Hawkeyes head coach Todd Lickliter.
Walthall has exchanged text messages with both Heiar and Jordan since their teams advanced to the national semifinals.
“It’s really cool, and I really feel good for Greg and LaVall,” Walthall said. “They have worked very hard in their profession.”
Heiar had just finished his college playing career when Walthall hired him at Loras. Walthall said Heiar’s passion for the game and coaching were evident from the start.
Heiar would help with four hours of practice or more on some days at Loras. He also worked with the junior varsity team, which practiced after the varsity.
“The thing with him is he loves every part of it, and a lot of guys don’t,” said Walthall. “He loves the recruiting. He loves the preparation for games. He loves the games. He loves speaking to the boosters.”
Even though Walthall has ties to Michigan and Wichita State, he wants to see Louisville win the national title.
That will give him family bragging rights with his
10-year-old twin sons, Blake and Brady.
“Right now Blake and Brady are killing me, and I need Louisville to run the table to get back in the hunt for the family brackets,” Walthall joked. “That’s the only reason. I’m just trying to save face, so they can’t throw it in my face all year long.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com