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Brooksville, FL 34601
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Memories & Candles

“My Phs Ed coach and Driver's Ed teacher. Wonderful wry humor. I was really fond of him. ”
1 of 24 | Posted by: Butch Ennemoser - Tallahassee, FL

“My heartfelt sympathies go to the Chwalik family. Simply put, Coach was a special man. He loved his family, his job, the students and players under...Read More »
2 of 24 | Posted by: Larry Kellogg - Midlothian, VA

“The Frey family has known the CHWALIK family for almost sixty years -- we baby sat for the kiddos -- eventually my father also moved his clan to the...Read More »
3 of 24 | Posted by: Christine Frey-Barton - Tequesta, FL

“RIP you will be missed. Enjoyed visiting with you when you would come into the office. ”
4 of 24 | Posted by: Sandi Swartz - Miami, FL

“He taught or coached myself & 3 brothers at Palmetto.. and left a lasting impression on all of us. Holding us responsible for our actions, and...Read More »
5 of 24 | Posted by: Karen Shave-Munfy - Punta gorda, FL

“Walt and I taught Driver Education at Palmetto Senior High; he was a great guy. We were good friends, we even went over to his house to play his...Read More »
6 of 24 | Posted by: Carmine Regna - Cutler Bay, FL

“Thank you coach for taching me how to drive at Palmetto HS. Then worshiping with you at Old Cutler. You were tough, but you loved more. Your...Read More »
7 of 24 | Posted by: Susie Mc Cary - Hernando Beach, FL

“Coach Chwalik was an awesome man and teacher. He was my Driver's Ed teacher at Palmetto Sr. and I always had the utmost respect for him. My thoughts...Read More »
8 of 24 | Posted by: Janie Baque Davis - Eatonton, GA

“Thanks Coach...you were the best! RIP ”
9 of 24 | Posted by: Chuck Volpe - Fort Lauderdale

“Will always remember drivers Ed movies with coach.willmiss him ”
10 of 24 | Posted by: LARRY KAVANAUGH - Miami, FL

“Coach Walt, A special person that I was fortunate to have as a baseball coach. To the extended Chwalik family may the grace of God touch you during...Read More »
11 of 24 | Posted by: Frank Overdyke - Lilburn, GA

“Mr. Chwalik was one of a kind! His mere presence made a huge impact and we all loved seeing him in our office. Looking at him, you just knew this man...Read More »
12 of 24 | Posted by: Jenny Lind - Brooksville, FL

“Coach, You mattered to us and made a difference. Thanks for showing me how to face plant an offensive lineman. You were cool back when it meant...Read More »
13 of 24 | Posted by: Don Kosick class of 69 - FL

“A special and wonderful man, with a great sense of humor. And tough on the football practice field. Your passing brings to life many and fond...Read More »
14 of 24 | Posted by: Zackary Edge - Miami, FL

“So sorry Mrs. Julia to hear of Mr. Walt's passing. I know how much you Love him, my prayers are with your family. ”
15 of 24 | Posted by: Beverly jackson - Mccomb, MS

“My condolences . He was a very fine human being and excellent baseball coach . I played both Howard -Palmetto Khoury League and Palmetto High...Read More »
16 of 24 | Posted by: Gregg Schwartz - Miami - Friend

“Great guy, rest in peace. Class 0f 64 ”
17 of 24 | Posted by: Thomas Brown - Palmetto Bay, FL

“Always thought he was a great coach and teacher ”
18 of 24 | Posted by: Barbara Frank Hutchison - Miami, FL

“Rest in Paradise Coach. Thanks for all those great driving lessons!! Great man and teacher! ”
19 of 24 | Posted by: Cheryl Lovaas Nadal - FL

“Thanks Coach for the driving lessons! I still drive fast, but I am safe!R.I.P. So sorry for your loss! ”
20 of 24 | Posted by: KatgKatherine erine Lamary (Smith) - FL

“THANKS COACH , BOTH YOU & COACH RICE GAVE ME THE DIRECTION THAT MADE ME WHAT I AM TODAY . YOU TWO GOT ME THROUGH SOME PERTY ROUGH TIMES , THANKS , eD ”
21 of 24 | Posted by: ED SALETTEL - TALKING ROCK, GA

“Julia, Glen and girls, we are so sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad, Father in law, and Grandpa. Our deepest condolences. Stan & Nancy...Read More »
22 of 24 | Posted by: Stan Hnatiuk - Winnipeg, MB

“We are sadden of the pasting of my BROTHER Walter and my UNCLE Walt. He was a wonderful man. We have So many memories of him. Sister Sophia loved...Read More »
23 of 24 | Posted by: Sophia/Theresa Deluca/DeRobbio - OH

“Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers during this time. So sorry for your loss. He was such a great man.Love, Donna ”
24 of 24 | Posted by: Donna Bowdoin - Bradenton, FL


When he was growing up in Campbell, Ohio, Walt Chwalik thought he would play college football at either Indiana University or Ohio State. Like many boys growing up in the 1940s, Walt played sports year-round, earning varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. And also like many boys growing up in Ohio, he worked Saturdays and Sundays at the local open-hearth steel mill.
"That was our version of 'off-season' weight training," laughs Walt. "We didn't have any need for workouts to keep in shape. We worked in the steel mills on weekends and during the summer. I started when I was 16. I worked weekends from 7am to 3pm. If there weren't enough men for the next shift then I'd work a double-shift. That'll get you big and keep you in shape! Who needs to lift weights when this is your part-time job?"
During his senior year Walt received a letter from football Coach Andy Gustafson, inviting him to the University of Miami for 'a screening.' A train ticket to Miami accompanied the letter, and Walt came down in August of 1948. The train had some 200 young men from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York on board, from all of the traditional football recruiting hotbeds. The train also made stops in South Carolina and Georgia, picking up more young men who received the same 'screening invitation' from Coach Gustafson.
"We get off at the train station and there are buses to take us directly to the athletic field house," remembers Walt. "The same day we got off that train we were scrimmaging. We scrimmaged three times a day, morning, noon and again at night. If they liked you in scrimmage then you stayed around for another day of August practice. If they didn't like you then they took you back over to the train station."
On the train down Walt sat next to Hal Allen, who would not only star on the 'Canes defensive line but end up coaching future Hurricane and NFL stars like Lester Williams and Jerome Brown. Long before his induction into the UM Hall of Fame, Hal Allen was just another young man headed south for his 'screening.'
"Hal got on the train in Georgia and we sat together for the rest of the trip," Walt remembers. "With his deep drawl I couldn't understand a word he said. Not a one! But he seemed like a nice guy." Their friendship continues to this day.
After a week of grueling 'three-a-days', Walt was offered a four-year scholarship. Coach Gustafson told him in very colorful language that he was one of the meanest players on the field. However, Walt was scheduled to be an usher in his best friend's wedding back in Ohio, and decided to go home. He told defensive coach Eddie Dunn that he wanted to get his clothes packed and get a ride over to the train station.
"Coach Dunn said, 'You can make two phone calls. First, call your mom and tell her to send you down some more clothes. Then, call your friend and tell him to find another usher. You're staying.'
So I made my two phone calls and I stayed. That's when my brother got all of my winter clothes."
The fall practices continued, and Walt and the rest of Miami's freshmen squad found themselves scrimmaging against war veterans who were five to ten years older than they were. They also scrimmaged against Miami High School, a national powerhouse high school program at that time.
"In the summer and fall of 1948 we scrimmaged in practice against these older guys, war veterans mostly. They had a bone to pick with us: we were the first group of players that [first-year coach] Gustafson brought in. The older guys were brought in when Jack Harding was the coach. Those were some tough practice scrimmages."
Freshmen couldn't play on the varsity in those days, but then Walt started at defensive end for three years. He remembers Coach Gustafson as being a very tough man, and years later the Coach had similar memories of him.
"I went to visit him when he was dying, he was over at Doctor's Hospital," says the soft-spoken Walt. "I walk in and he tells me what a mean player I was, that I was an animal. Well I was! I didn't care how much bigger anybody else was or if we were playing the #1 ranked team. When I put my uniform on I became a different person. I was as nice as can be otherwise, but playing football was another matter."
In 1948 Walt and his freshmen teammates were the first to live in the new campus dormitory. They moved in, eight players to a dorm, in a building on Segovia Avenue and University Drive, where the Coral Gables Public Library now stands.
"It was real nice, all clean and new. Trouble was, a hurricane hit and the design of the windows wasn't right. The pins holding the windows were on the outside, so when the high winds came all of the windows blew in and glass shattered everywhere! It was just a mess."
The Miami Hurricanes flew to all of their away games and dressed like a team ready to leave an impression-and some marks-on the opposition. The players may have been wearing custom blazers on team flights but it didn't hide the fact that they were rough and ready Hurricanes.
"Of course this was before all of the television coverage for college football. You basically had a little advance knowledge of the squad you were about to play--you'd see a depth chart for the next team. I was 6' and I played at 220 pounds. But our publicity department would list me at 180 pounds. [Tackle] Al Carapella would be listed at 220 pounds and his playing weight was a minimum 260. When we'd get on the field and I'd hit some halfback, the guy would struggle to get up and say, 'No way you're 180 pounds.'
1950 was a heady time for Miami football. Coach Gustafson was a successful

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