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Coach Who Donated Kidney To Player Gets Warm Welcome At Home Opener

10:03 AM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- Two weeks ago, Wake Forest University's baseball coach did the unthinkable for a young man who was running out of time.

Tom Walter donated a kidney to one of his players, Kevin Jordan, who was diagnosed with a disorder that attacked his kidneys.

Kevin is recovering at home in Georgia and Coach Walter is getting back to work.

He received a warm welcome at Tuesday's home opener from fans who couldn't be more proud.

SLIDESHOW - Coach Walter At Wake Forest Home Opener

"He really claims that team. They're his team, just like his family," said fan Jim Grigsby.

"It's really the reason why I came today," said student Kara Peruccio. "I'm amazed, to be honest. It's just such a great story and a great person to do such a thing, so it's awesome that he can be back here."

Sam Smartt said, "It's cool to have your school in the spotlight for a good reason. A lot of times with college athletics sometimes you get put in the spotlight for the wrong reason and this is a great reason to get attention."

"Proud to be a Wake fan. It just shows that those guys are strong and we love them," said fan Eric Naylor.  

 

Coach Walter didn't just coach from the dugout, either. He coached third base after he said he finally got some of his voice back.

"I haven't really been able to yell. That's got to come from the belly and it hasn't always been pain-free to do that," he said after the game.

Since his story has been shared all over the country, Walter has heard from all sorts of people.

"The governor, Bev Perdue, called. I've had the president of Georgetown call. A couple congresspeople called. A group of sixth graders from Indiana sent me letters. A kid told me that he wanted me to be his coach even though his dad was his coach, so I thought that was pretty cool," said Walter.

He said most of his soreness is gone, but he's still fighting fatigue.

Walter said, "I got a nice letter from the National Kidney Foundation and they told me that the calls about the donor process have increased by thousands from what they're used to and they think it's due to this attention."

He said he spoke with Kevin on Monday and he's doing great and getting better every day.

Wake Forest won their home opener against Western Carolina 2-1 in extra innings.

WFMY News 2

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