103.9 FM WDKX
Your #1 Radio for R&B
What's Playing Now
What Played Earlier Today
103.9 WDKX Live
REQUEST A SONG!
Request A Song
Cedric Walker could pick up a phone, reach out to notable men and women in track and field, and connect.
Olympians. Up and coming youth champions. College coaches at national powerhouses. Leaders of track and field governing bodies.
Mr. Walker's rise in USA Track and Field led him to numerous foreign countries and put him on familiar terms with at least one prominent government official, the prime minister of Jamaica.
The connections Mr. Walker was just as proud of, were his ties to track and field athletes in and around Rochester, some of whom followed the 1981 Madison High graduate into coaching.
"From the time we met, he took me under his wing," former Franklin sprinter Garfield Ellenwood, 39, said. "He was so outgoing, he always wanted to help. You are drawn to that.
"At a young age (I was 14), you don't know why you are drawn to people. As you get older, you see. It was his compassion."
Whether it was shelter for a teenager who lived in a stormy home or help searching for college scholarships or car rides to track meets in Rochester and outside New York state, Mr. Walker was always there.
Until Mr. Walker's death on Tuesday, he looked forward to an upcoming track and field clinic at Penfield, because it would put local athletes face-to-face with accomplished coaches.
Mr. Walker was 49 years old.
"It's so hard to believe that this man is gone," childhood friend Wayne Washington, 49, said. "To me, there's no one who can carry the torch like he did."
"All of the people that he helped, I don't care how big you made it, he never asked for anything back. He never changed."
That passion for track and field, which caused Mr. Walker to toss a stopwatch or demand a repeat of a drill once in awhile, also came out before he was an adult.
Mr. Walker grew up on Kenwood Avenue, on the west side of Rochester, and competed in sprints and hurdle races while with the Madison varsity. He would also fill a key role on the team when the team's coach had to hurry off to another school event.