St. Paul Pioneers Football Hall of Fame
Pioneers Retire First Number
Jim Walsh #90
Legends take years to become iconic. Icons take years to become legendary. Jim Walsh did it in 6. Walsh, Defensive Coordinator for the St. Paul Pioneers was honored on Saturday during halftime of the St. Paul Pioneers game versus the Racine Raiders. His number 90 jersey has been officially retired. Jim, an original Pioneer, has been a player, D-Line coach and now Defensive Coordinator serving in his 8th season with the P-Unit. In 2005, Jim took a year off, only to return in 2006 and help win the team's 3rd league championship. This was a bittersweet day for Walsh as it mark the one year anniversary of the passing of his mother, a long time Pioneer volunteer.
Owner and fellow original Pioneer George Hall said: " As long as I'm the owner and if anyone owns this team after me, we will make sure that no one will ever wear #90 again" The rain-soaked game gave us a break for this special moment as players stayed on the sideline to witness this event. After which some players came up to shake his hand before heading off to the locker room. Jim Walsh was an outstanding Defensive End for the then Minneapolis Lumberjacks and St. Paul Pioneers. When founder Adam Gold (Jim's brother in law) decided to start a new team, it was Jim who gave the team its name.
Now Jim is a Pioneer on so many levels. WE LOVE YOU JIM!!!!
PIONEERS HONOR IT'S FOUNDER
Sundays in September usually mean sitting in front of the TV watching Football. In 2008, Sundays in St. Paul usually mean the Pioneers are playing. Like all ball clubs, someone made the decision to start it up. As for the Pioneers, it all started with Adam Gold. The history page on this site gives you the story on how Mr. Gold started something real special. During halftime of the Pioneers' final regular season game of 2008, Shannon Gold, Adam's wife, and their 2 sons joined current Pioneers owner George Hall at the 50 yard line and surprised Adam (who made the trip from Mason City, Iowa) with a special presentation.
Earlier in the season, the Pioneers retired their very first number, that of Adam's brother in law and current Pioneer Defensive Coordinator Jim Walsh. It was fitting that Adam's number was retired and honored as one of the first 2 players in the Pioneers Hall of Fame. While waiting for the halftime whistle to blow, Shannon Gold informed Mr. Hall that she was the person who came up with the color scheme that has yet to be changed throughout the various Pioneer owners.
After the 2001 season with another team, Adam and a select few got together and came up with a plan that still is paying dividends in competitive play to this day. Adam currently serves as Co-VP of the Pioneers. #8 will always be a part of Minnesota football history.
Thank you for starting this family.
PIONEERS HONOR PLAYERS
Paek & Rochon-Washington
They joined the team together, young players who played together at Augsburg College. One was the fleet receiver from Chicago, the one who could beat almost any defense down the field. The other was the unblockable defensive lineman from Milwaukee, the guy who almost toyed with guards and tackles.
They were among the first Pioneers team founder Adam Gold approached to help build his new St. Paul squad back in 2002. They would be building blocks for a winner, he knew.
But little did he, or anyone else, know that Damien Rochon-Washington and Guillaume Paek would lay the foundation for a national powerhouse and a local dynasty that would be defined as one of the best semi-pro teams of the decade. Together, they lent their talents to the St. Paul Pioneers for 11 seasons, leading their teammates in words and in deeds.
Washington, over time, would transform from the deep threat to the guy who could be counted on to get the key first down… to take the best hits a defense could deliver and bounce right back up. He became a vocal force, prodding coaches and teammates to bring their best. Expecting no less from himself.
Paek, who became a teacher and a leader of young men, dominated inside early. Became an unstoppable force at linebacker for a while and transitioned to the end of the line late in his career, the man his coaches could count on to do whatever was needed to stop the other team in its tracks.
They were known, all along, as close friends and as brothers. Over time, they taught their teammates the value of friendship, the priceless nature of family. They are the last of the original Pioneers to play, they played nearly every down of every Pioneers season – the many that ended in championships and the few that did not.
Today, we honor these men, these builders, these football players and brothers, with the greatest honor we can give. We retire their numbers – 1 and 92 – never to be worn by another St. Paul Pioneer, in recognition of all they have done, the sacrifices they have made, the loyalty they have shown.
For their brotherhood.
Please join me in a round of applause for Guillaume Paek and Damien Rochon Washington…. We will always miss you on the field, but we will always hold you in our hearts for leading the way.
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