Basketball coach shot to death in Liberty County - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Basketball coach shot to death in Liberty County

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MIDWAY, GA (WTOC) -

Midway's St. James Community Center was packed Monday night with parents and players who came share stories of Coach Ernie Walthour.

Walthour spent more than a quarter century coaching basketball in Liberty County, at Bradwell Institute, then at First Presbyterian Christian Academy. Walthour founded the Rebels traveling team.

He was found shot to death in front of a home on Lewis Frazier Road early Monday morning. The sheriff's office says it was a robbery. Walthour's BMW was found a few miles from that mobile home, where he'd been visiting an acquaintance.

"We don't understand why we have to have things like this happen," said Linda Schumm. She's known Walthour for decades and worked with him in Fort Stewart's Military Youth Programs. "Sometimes, it brings us all closer together, and hopefully, we'll be able to find whoever did this and be better for it as a community."

Coach Walthour has coached 67 children who have gone on to college, according to Rebels Vice-President Michael Brown, who also is the Rebel women's coach. Four more are headed to college this year.

Brown remembered Walthour as a father figure to many, someone parents could turn to if a child misbehaved.

"They'd say, 'If you don't do this, then I'm going to call Coach Ernie,'" Brown said. "And they would call him, and the kid would get in line and do what they need to do, come to the gym, and play."

Brown said good grades and good standing with parents were requirements to play on Coach Walthour's Rebels. But money wasn't.

"A lot of the kids, we'd be getting ready to go, and they'd come up and say, 'Coach, I don't have any money.' And he'd say, 'Get in the van.'"

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