Walking on at Gonzaga was a wonderful decision for me. I was not a highly recruited student athlete so having the opportunity to play at the Division 1 level was exciting.
As far as being a walk on, I was treated the same as the other players and given every opportunity to succeed. There were a number of players who walked on and went on to play a lot of minutes and had high levels of success. Being treated fairly within the program fostered great relationships amongst the other players. The year I redshirted Jarrod Davis, Matt Stanford, Geoff Goss and I all did not have scholarships. Jamie Dudley had recently been given a scholarship, but did not have a scholarship the prior year. Every year I played at Gonzaga I was not the only walk-on there were many of us. I believe they even had an article about it in the Spokesman Review when I was a Sophomore or a Junior. The only advice I would give student athletes that were walk-ons would be that Gonzaga is a great place for an education and you will be treated fairly and given a chance to succeed, grow, and play.
As far as learning from my experience as a walk-on, I never really thought of my experience in those terms. I think back as a member of the basketball program only because there was no real difference in the way we were treated whether we were walk-ons or scholarship athletes.
As a member of the team I learned quite a few things that I have taken into my personal and professional life. The two most important were 1) How to compete. I was not prepared as a 17 year old freshman to compete at this level of competition when I arrived on campus. I had to learn how to compete just to maintain a spot on the team. I was not the most gifted athlete. Being competitive and tougher-minded are things that I took away from my experience with the Zags.
2) Understanding my role on the team was the other important lesson. Being a member of the Gonzaga Basketball team was a wonderful experience. Coach Fitzgerald, Monson, Few, and Grier gave me a chance to fulfill a dream and to build lasting relationships with my teammates. My role was not to be the star or to even score a lot of points. My role was to be a good teammate, work hard in practice, and to give other players a rest when I was given an opportunity to play. I understood my role and took it very seriously. Because I understood my role I now am able to work well in a team environment in my career after basketball. I use my experiences and things that happened at Gonzaga everyday in my business life. Coaches talk about teaching now almost as a cliche, but I can tell you that I would not be as good in my professional life if the coaches had not pushed, disciplined, taught, and held me to a standard that has come to be expected at Gonzaga. I learned many things at Gonzaga, but what I learned from my coaches was easily the most useful lessons I learned at Gonzaga.
The Wall family has quite a legacy at Gonzaga. My Mother, Father, and Aunt attended the university. My uncle taught Biology at Gonzaga (Dr. Barry). My Sister is a graduate of the class of 96 and my brother will be graduating in the class of 04. Obviously, my parents believe in the education you receive at Gonzaga. Because I was a walk-on and I was not given a "free" education. But my parents gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to get an education at Gonzaga and to spend a wonderful time learning and growing without the concern of paying for my education. For that I am very thankful. I also met my wife at Gonzaga and I know that we hope to be able to provide the same opportunity for our children. We have a 3.5 year old son and a son who is due September 26.
As far as the friendships I found at Gonzaga I am very thankful for the many people I met along the way. There were 8 or 9 teammates that I will always maintain close friendships with. I still get together with a few of them a couple of times a year and I speak to a few of them very regularly. I knew when I was at Gonzaga that I had a special group of teammates, but the successes, personally and professionally, that each has had after basketball is a tribute to the character of each of them, their families, and the coaches that we played for.
I did not know Bud Pressley well. I met him on a couple of occasions. He was a coach at a camp that I was playing at as a teenager and he was unbelieveable to watch and play for during the week I spent at camp. By that time in his life he was an assistant or advisor to the UNLV basketball program he was teaching team defense which I believe he was well known for. As far as other stories about Bud Pressley they would all be second hand stories and you would be better off speaking to people who played for him in that era like my father [Marty Wall, Sr., who played for GU in the 1960's). I know many of them would love to share stories about the days of Gonzaga basketball in the Big Sky Conference.
I have been married to Kristen Petro Wall (Class of 94) since May 25, 1997. I have a 3 and 1/2 year olf son, Martin Joseph Wall V, or as we like to call him, Joe. Kristen is due on September 26 and we are expecting a boy. I played on the team from the Fall of 1989 to Spring of 1994 and reshirted my first year. I am currently working for Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in Portland, OR. I started with Widmer in March of 1996 as a brewery representative (sales rep). I am now the Vice President, Sales. I have been the VP Sales since September of 2000. You are aware that my brother is a senior at GU, but he is on the crew team and I believe he is entering his Junior year of eligibility. My sister, Laura, is recently married and living in Seattle. She was in the class of 1996. My parents live in Northern California in a city called Novato where they have resided since 1976. They have been regulars at the Gonzaga events in the Bay Area as long as I can remember.