Written by Shelly Poe
James "Jimmy" Walthall earned seven varsity letters in three sports while he was a Mountaineer from 1944-49. The four-year letterwinner in football (1944-47-48-49) led West Virginia to a 24-16-2 record.
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He was a gifted quarterback during his sophomore to senior seasons after making the transition from tailback his freshman year. Following surgery in 1947, Walthall passed for 1,222 yards to rank fourth in the nation and lead the Mountaineers to a Sun Bowl victory over Texas El-Paso. After college, Walthall was drafted by two teams in the 1949 NFL draft: Philadelphia in the 11th round and Buffalo in the 16th. For his efforts in football, Walthall was named to WVU's 1940-1949 all-time team.
While earning two letters in basketball in 1945 and 1947, Walthall guided the team to a 31-9 campaign and two NIT appearances. He tallied 174 points in 35 games for a 5.0 ppg average. He earned his seventh letter while a member of the Mountaineer baseball team in 1949, helping the Old Gold and Blue post a 13-8 record.
The native of Princeton, W.Va., who returned to WVU as an assistant coach under then coach Gene Corum, was responsible for West Virginia's rushing backfield. The WWII Army veteran is retired after 30 years of teaching and coaching at various high schools in Georgia. He died February, 22, 2012 in LaFayette, Ga.