Gary D. Walters graduated from Princeton University in 1967 with a BA degree in Psychology. He co-authored, with Psychology Professors Marlin Karlins and Thomas Coffman, a study entitled "On the Fading of Social Stereotypes: Studies in Three Generations Of College Students", which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1969. This study has become widely cited in social psychology reasearch as being a part of the “Princeton Trilogy,” sequential studies that focused on ethnic stereotyping.
Walters played point guard for Princeton on the 1965 NCAA Final Four men’s basketball team led by Bill Bradley. He was featured with teammate Chris Thomforde on the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 1967, while leading that year’s team to a 25-3 record. This was a Top Ten final ranking (No. 5) in the national polls.
As a point guard, Walters was a three-time letterwinner, first-team All-Ivy selection, honorable mention A.P. All-America, recipient of the team’s B.F. Bunn Trophy and first-team U.P.I. ”Small American” (for players 5-10 and under).
Shortly after his undergraduate playing days concluded, Walters became the youngest head basketball coach in NCAA history in 1970, when he took over the duties at Middlebury College. He then spent three years as head coach at Union College (where he coached All-American Jim Tedisco, the Republican minority party head in the New York State House of Representatives)and was named the New York Division III Coach of the Year, before returning to Princeton as Pete Carril's assistant coach in 1973 where he helped coach the Tigers to the 1975 NIT Championship. Walters also served as head coach at both Dartmouth College (and named New England Coach of the Year in 1976) and Providence College. In 1980 Walters was selected to coach at the U.S. Olympic Trials. He also served as a color analyst on Big East men’s basketball telecasts in the 1980s and 1990s.
Walters joined Kidder, Peabody & Co. in 1981 as an investment representative. He left as a senior vice president and partner in 1990 to become senior partner of Woolf Associates Sports Management in Boston, and he then became managing director of Seaward Management, an investment advisory firm, in 1992.
He was a three-year participant in the executive education program sponsored by the Securities Industry Association conducted at the Wharton School of Business. While at Kidder he served for three years, one as chair, on the New England NASD district business conduct committee, the regulatory body responsible for enforcing security regulations in over-the-counter markets.
Walters has been the Director of Athletics at his alma mater since June 1994. Princeton teams have won 22 national championships in his first 12 years as director of athletics. During that time Princeton has fielded 33 teams in Ivy League sports, and 31 of those have won at least one league championship.
In addition, 35 of the 38 Princeton varsity teams have played in postseason championship competition. A total of six Princeton teams have competed in the NCAA Final Four of their sport since he became AD, including four in the calendar year of 2004, tying Princeton with UCLA and Stanford for the most in Division I.
Walters has led an athletic department that has won the Ivy League’s unofficial all-sports standings every year of his tenure and had as of the the spring of the 2007-08 academic year won 162 Ivy League championships, 65 more than the second-best Ivy school, since he became AD.
Princeton finished in the Top 25 in the Directors’ Cup in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2002, making Princeton the only non-scholarship school ever to do so. Princeton, the highest-finishing non-scholarship school every year but one in the history of the Directors’ Cup, finished in the Top 50 in each of the last two years, including 33rd in the 2003-04 season.
Walters’ leadership of the athletic department has been acclaimed and nationally profiled in such journals as Sports Illustrated, Sports Business Journal, Athletic Management, The New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Athletic Business Magazine. In 2007, Walters was named one of "The 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America" by the Institute of International Sport. And, in 2008, he received the General Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletic Director Award from the All-American Football Foundation.
Walters has also been active in the national leadership of college basketball through his role on the College Basketball Partnership, an initiative of NCAA president Myles Brand that is led by and features major Division I coaches, administrators and stakeholders. He also was appointed to the prestigious NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee in 2002 and was elected Chair of the committee for the 2006-07 season.
Walters has adopted a management philosophy based on the ideals of character-based coaching and the true student-athlete on campus. Toward that end, he created the Princeton Academic Athletic Fellows program, which links academic, athletic and social pursuits by identifying faculty members and administrators to serve in support roles for each team.
Walters also created the Princeton Varsity Club, a unique support group geared toward providing broad-based assistance for the Tigers’ 38 intercollegiate teams while stressing the ideals of performance, values and community. The PVC’s Board of Directors consists of some of the most respected names in the Princeton athletic family, and among its other endeavors has been a speaker series that began with an address at Princeton by NCAA president Brand.
In addition to on-field success in sports, Walters has overseen a necessary renovation of athletic facilities, most notably the demolition of Palmer Stadium and the building of Princeton Stadium and Weaver Track and Field Stadium in its place. Other projects have included the construction of the Class of 1952 Stadium, the new squash courts in Jadwin Gym, the addition of 16 locker rooms to the Caldwell Field House and the renovation and expansion of the boathouse to the Shea Rowing Center. Currently, Princeton is building a $14 million Soccer complex and planning a new Tennis pavilion.
Walters has spearheaded and implemented a gender-neutral compensation structure for coaches and undertaken management responsibilities for the University’s Office of Athletic Communications and Office of Athletic Relations. Among his other projects have been the planning and organization of the 1996-97 Faculty Symposia on Athletics and the development of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to better integrate athletics into the University community.
He has also seen four members of his administrative staff become collegiate Directors of Athletics, most recently Jim McLaughlin at Union in 2005.
Walters has served as the chairman of the Ivy Committee on Administration and is an ethics fellow for the Institute of International Sport. He was recently named to the advisory board for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern.
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