Winning and building a legacy — that’s what it was all about for Dan Pugh when he started his softball and basketball intramural team, the Walton Gang, more than 30 years ago.
Pugh, now better known as sportscaster Dan Patrick, built the Walton Gang with several guys from his floor in Founders Hall in 1978. It was named after Patrick’s favorite NBA player, Bill Walton.
“Bill played team first, he wasn’t worried about individual stats,” Patrick said. “That was the beauty of playing with guys like the Szinks, the Lindesmiths and (Mike) Bankovich. They rubbed off on me to make me a better team player.”
It didn’t take much time for Patrick’s team to hit their groove as several of the team members grew up playing sports together. Patrick is the first to admit they weren’t the biggest or fastest athletes — an observation also noted in an April 11, 1978, issue of The Flyer News (click picture at left to read the article) — but they managed to out-compete most other teams. One of the Walton Gang’s first big wins was the NBA 1977-78 IM basketball championships. From there, Patrick hoped their legacy would grow.
“Whether it was softball or basketball, if you were playing the Walton Gang, you’d know what to expect,” Patrick said. “We probably annoyed a lot of people on campus, but when we showed up at the Pac or the Field House, they knew we were in the building.”
The Walton Gang went on to win several championships continuing past Patrick’s graduation in 1979. Years later, the team and players’ legacy continue to live on, from team reunions to mentions in Dan Patrick’s book The Big Show.
“One of my favorite memories at UD was the Walton gang, and it’s hard to put into words what it was,” Patrick said. “Without those guys, my college experience would not have been the same. They were true, no-ego friends.”