Eastern Kentucky football Hall Of Famer Wally Chambers passed away over the weekend at the age of 68. Chambers is arguably the greatest football player in Colonel history. Speaking on the Wallingford Sports Show long time voice of EKU athletics Greg Stotelmyer said of Chambers, “He is considered if not the greatest, one of the top two, three, or four players to play for EKU”
Wally Chambers played for the Colonels from 1969 through 1972. He was named first team All American by The Sporting News and Time Magazine his senior season as well as first team All-OVC. He led the Colonels in tackles for three consecutive seasons and was named Co-MVP his senior season as well. After his final season in Richmond his #78 jersey was retired.
Chambers was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in 1973 by the Chicago Bears at pick number eight. This past season the Chicago Tribune released their list of the 100 greatest Bear Players of all time and Wally Chambers was number 52. His rookie season saw him record 101 tackles to lead the Bears, he forced seven fumbles recovering two of those and he had fourteen sacks of the quarterback. He earned the NFL Rookie of the Year honor as well as being named All-Pro and making the Pro Bowl. Chambers was named All-Pro three times (1973, 1974, 1975) and was elected to the Pro Bowl three times (1973, 1975, 1976). He was named NFC defensive player of the year in 1976. It was in the 1977 Pro Bowl that Wally hurt his knee that would eventually lead to the end of his career.
Chambers played five seasons for Chicago before being trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he played next to hall of famer Lee Roy Selmon for a season. After his playing career ended Chambers became a coach at the collegiate level. He coached for Northern Iowa and East Carolina. In 1989 he served as defensive coach for the New York Jets under Joe Walton.
Wally Chambers was named to the all century team at Eastern Kentucky and was elected to the inaugural Hall Of Fame class in 2006. Chambers will always be remembered the fans of Eastern Kentucky football as one of the first players to go to the NFL and succeed and represent the Colonels on and off the field.