In his four years as head football coach at Augusta Christian, Keith Walton’s teams have improved each season, culminating in an undefeated (13-0) 2012 season.
It was the first perfect season in the school’s history and the team went on to win the South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA state title, earning Walton The Augusta Chronicle’s Independent coach of the year.
His mantra at the start of the season was “get better every day” and the team took it to heart.
“I’ve never been around a group that bought in,” Walton said. “To see the kids grab it and do it, it’s an amazing thing. I have to attribute it to the young men I get to coach.”
With a four year win-loss record of 33-13, Walton has been using lessons learned along the way.
He attributes much of his success to Augusta Christian. He graduated from the school in 1991, attended college for a year, came back to the school one day to help the head coach with a drill and never left.
“I got bit out here that day and I have literally been here ever since,” Walton said.
He did finish his college education, earning a business management degree from Southern Wesleyan University in 2003.
”It was huge,” he said. “I knew I’ve got to get a degree in order to actually get totally involved with what I need to do here. I thought that was crucial.”
His first major decision in 2009 was to go with a core group of players that began as freshmen. It included running back Sean Sweeting, lineman Matt Herzwurm and quarterback Tyler Roberson.
His biggest decision entering the 2012 season was to call running plays for Roberson, who he kept under wraps out of necessity for the first three years.
“Literally, no one else took snaps,” Walton said. “Talk about rolling the dice – no one else took snaps, at all. This is the first year anybody else took snaps at practice.”
Roberson responded by rushing for over 1,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in addition to passing for over 2,000 yards in 2012.
Roberson is appreciative of what Walton has meant to him on and off the field.
“I love him to death,” Roberson said. “He’s taught me how to become a godly man. I really appreciate Coach Walton.”
Despite his success at the high school level, Walton isn’t considering leaving his alma mater for life as a college coach.
“It’s tough, I don’t want to do that,” Walton said. “I don’t have the temperament for that. I’m too much of a homebody.”