Walter Langford, Former Faculty Member And Tennis Coach, Dies At The Age Of 92
Coached tennis team to a share of the NCAA championship in 1944.
June 1, 2001
South Bend, IN –
Word has been received of the death of Walter Langford, a member ofthe Notre Dame faculty for 42 years and a longtime coach of theUniversity’s varsity tennis and fencing teams. Langford died Feb. 28 in St.Louis after an illness. He was 92.
A 1930 graduate of Notre Dame, Langford began teaching at theUniversity a year later, specializing in Spanish and Portuguese instructionand Mexican literature. He served as chair of the modern languagesdepartment from 1946-59 and was the author of “The Mexican Novel Comes ofAge.”
From 1961-63, he organized the first U.S. overseas training programfor Peace Corps volunteers, as director of the agency’s Chilean program. Healso served a year as director of Notre Dame’s Sophomore Year AbroadProgram.
Langford coached varsity tennis at Notre Dame from ’40-’53,compiling a record of 95-30 and earning a three-way share of the 1944 NCAAchampionship. He also coached the Irish fencing team from ’40-’43 and againfrom ’51-’61, with a record of 155-35.
Langford was honored twice for his multiple contributions to NotreDame: in 1959. with the Lay Faculty Award for distinguished service, andupon his retirement in 1973, with a Presidential Citation from theUniversity’s then president, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.He earned a master of modern languages degree from the NationalUniversity of Mexico in ’37, served as president of the CatholicAssociation of Foreign Language Teachers in ’57-’58 and was active in theModern Language Association.
Langford’s wife of 44 years, Alice, died in 1975. He later marriedMary Goebel, who survives, along with four children. His son Jim isdirector emeritus of Notre Dame Press, and daughter Lois is married toWilliam Berry, professor of electrical engineering at Notre Dame.Father Hesburgh celebrated a memorial Mass for Langford on March 8at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Memorial contributions can be sent to the Walter and Alice LangfordScholarship Fund at Notre Dame or to There Are Children Here, a camp forat-risk children directed by Jim Langford and his wife, Jill, at 21550 NewRoad, Lakeville, IN 46536.