RANCHESTER — Walter Gray, a former football coach at Tongue River High School, was recently awarded with the Career Achievement Award for Football Coaching by the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Gray, who retired in 1992, received his award at the 19th annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet held in Laramie March 16. He attended the banquet with his wife, daughters, Sheridan County School District 1 Board Chairman Johann Nield, SCSD 1 Superintendent Marty Kobza and friends. In addition, former football players including Keith Reichert of Sheridan and Rollie Parkison of Gillette attended.
“It was super,” Gray said about the honor. “Not many people stay in the profession that long anymore so I was really excited about it and it was a great banquet to go to.”
Gray began his football coaching career at Tongue River High School in 1962 as assistant football coach. In 1965, he took over as head coach and remained in that position until his retirement. His 27-year stretch as head football coach is the longest in the school’s history.
During his tenure, the Eagles won nine district championships, two regional championships, were state runners-up in 1977 and 1984 and also had five undefeated seasons.
Gray is considered the ninth most winning coach in Wyoming with 148 wins, 87 losses and no ties.
Though he retired as head football coach from TRHS in 1992, that was not the end of his coaching career. He went on to coach junior high school basketball from 1996-1999, junior high school volleyball from 2000-2002 and served as assistant football coach at Big Horn High School 1997-2000. He was head coach for Tongue River Middle School 2007-2011 and assistant football coach at TRHS in 2012.
Gray was inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985 and in 2002, the TRHS football field was named for him. He won Wyoming Coach of the Year in 1974 and Conference Coach of the Year 1972-1975, 1977, 1984 and 1986.