Coach Walker enters his third season as the head coach for men’s volleyball at Sacred Heart University. In addition to his duties for the Pioneers, he also serves USA Volleyball as the head coach of the USA Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Program and is active with the indoor national team programs and high-performance pipeline as well.
The 2017 campaign elevated the Pioneer Men’s Volleyball team to new heights with becoming a nationally competitive program. The team was preseason picked to finish 7th and finished the 2017 campaign ranked third in the EIVA standings, losing in the EIVA semi-finals to Saint Francis University. This was the first season that the Pioneers had upset nationally ranked Penn State University, taking both regular season meetings between the teams. Penn state had not lost twice to a league foe in the regular season since 1984. The Pioneers had received their second AVCA Player of the Week honor with Michael Comens as well as posting the schools first volleyball AVCA All-American, Joshua Ayzenberg. The 2017 season was one of the largest program turnarounds in the country in men’s volleyball.
The Pioneers led the nation statistically in offense and defense with Taylor Bloomquist leading at 1.19 blocks per set, Joshua Ayzenberg leading at 2.92 digs per set and leading the nation in digs in a 4-set match along with Chris Delucie with aces in a 3-set match. They finished number one in the country for the number of aces in a 3-set match statistically.
In Coach Walker’s second season with the women’s program, the Pioneers finished the 2016 season as the Northeast Conference Regular Season Champions and entered the NEC Tournament as the #1 seed. The Pioneers lost in a 3-2 decision to LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Conference Championship Match. The women finished the season 22-8 overall and 13-2 in NEC play. The 2016 campaign was the programs best overall season record and best conference record finish. The season garnished many awards for the Pioneers, walking away with the NEC Coach of the Year (Rob Machan); NEC Player of the Year (Sarah Krufka); NEC Libero of the Year (Ana Gonzalez) and All-Conference honors: Sarah Krufka, Ana Gonzalez, Makayla Dole, Allison Riggs.
In his first season with the men’s program, his staff worked hard to stablish a new system at SHU, it was the first for many program firsts. The Pioneers’ earned five wins in EIVA play and were tied for its most as a member of the league. Three members of the Sacred Heart men's volleyball team received the first All-Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Team (EIVA) honors of their careers along with earning the programs first AVCA Academic Team Award.
Austin Arcala was voted to the First Team, while Christopher DeLucie and Joshua Ayzenberg represented SHU on the Second Team. In addition to being selected All-EIVA, Ayzenberg also earned a spot on the All-Academic for being a non-freshman that participated in at least 60% of the team's sets and maintained a minimum of a 3.50 GPA. Leading Sacred Heart in kills this season, Arcala finished the regular season third in the EIVA and 13th in the NCAA with an average of 3.72 kills per set, which also ranks fifth in SHU's single season record book. On March 26 against Harvard, he set a new career-high with 22 kills on .459 hitting in just there sets. He also ranked fourth in the conference in services aces per set at 0.34 and was second on the team with 1.74 digs per set.
DeLucie was also in the top five in the EIVA in kills per set, finishing just behind Arcala in a tie for fourth at 3.67, falling just short doubling his output of 1.85 from the 2015 season. Of those in the league, he was just outside of the top five in hitting percentage as his .284 percent ranked sixth. His ability to produce high kill totals on efficient hitting really showed when he swung .514 percent en route to a career-high 27 kills on February 26 at NJIT.
Not only was Ayzenberg second in the EIVA in digs per set, his average of 2.55 was good for tenth in the NCAA. The number vaulted him into fifth on Sacred Heart's All-Time single season list, while his 219 total digs are now fourth. The sophomore led the Pioneers by appearing in 86 of a possible 88 sets and twice this season he finished with a career-high 17 digs, including in a three setter at Saint Francis U on April 8.
In Walker’s first season with the women’s program, they finished the 2015 campaign overall 15-14, while finishing in the Northeast Conference semi-final match vs. LIU Brooklyn. The Pioneers finished the season ranked fourth and 9-5 in conference. The Pioneers had the NEC Player of the Year and ECAC Offensive Player of the Year – Sarah Krufka; 2nd Team All-Conference – Tori Kemper and the NCSA All-American – Katie Direnzo.
Walker joined the Pioneers after previously serving as the head coach for men’s volleyball at Alderson Broaddus University. He was tasked with leading ABU through the transition from collegiate club to NCAA Division II status. The Battlers went 21-6 in under his direction and four of his student-athletes received national All-Conference honors from Off The Block. His immediate recruiting efforts added height and skill to his future roster as he recruited 11 in his first year featuring high school All-Americans, Youth National Team athletes, Player of the Year from respective states and college transfers from National Championship programs.
Prior to ABU, Walker served as an assistant coach in the SEC at Mississippi State during the 2013 campaign. During his time in Starkville, he oversaw team defensive training, as well as training the outside and right side hitters.
Under his tutelage, sophomore libero Roxanne McVey and freshman opposite Kimmy Gardiner received the schools first two AVCA All-American recognitions on the Honorable Mention list. McVey also matched the Southeastern Conference’s digs-per-set record (5.64). The duo earned the Bulldogs’ first AVCA All-South Region honors in program history and four players received weekly recognition from the SEC, which broke the previous single-season record of three.
A fan-favorite, Walker was instrumental in drawing a school-record 7,399 fans during the 2013 season, including a Newell-Grissom Building conference-match record of 1,633 against in-state rival Ole Miss on Nov. 6, 2013.
Walker spent time at Pfeiffer University, a Division II school in Misenheimer, N.C., in a dual role as head coach of the men and women’s volleyball programs. Under his direction the program saw the second-consecutive Conference Carolinas Men’s Volleyball Championship with back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Under Walker’s leadership the programs featured the Conference Player of the Year, tournament MVP, two all-tournament honorees, five all-conference players, a NCAA Statistical Champion, two academic all-conference players and 14 student athletes landing on the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll. Walker’s team ran one of the most efficient offenses in the country finishing No. 1 statistically in NCAA Division I with 4.24 kills per set, as well as No. 2 for points per set with 4.98 and No. 6 with 10.74 assists per set. Walker received the 2012-13 Pfeiffer University Athletics Coach of the Year and his teams received several university athletics awards.
Prior to his work at Pfeiffer, Coach Walker spent a very short stint in Eugene, Oregon at the University of Oregon as a Volunteer Assistant. He spent his time assisting with their practice and assisting with coordinating summer camps. Before arriving in Eugene, Walker was an assistant coach at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He assisted in all aspects of the program, including video analysis, statistical breakdown, recruiting, practice management and travel. He specifically worked with the team's defensive preparation as it ranked second in the Atlantic Sun Conference in blocks (1.93 per set) and digs (15.96 per set), and posted the program’s second-ever win over an SEC opponent with its upset of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Coach Walker started his collegiate coaching career at Juniata College (Pa.) with their men’s volleyball team - a six-time national championship program. During his two seasons with the Eagles, Walker helped lead Juniata to an 18-12 overall record and undefeated EIVA conference run (8-0) winning the first divisional conference title in over five years. He assisted the Eagles to as high as the No. 1 AVCA national ranking. During the season, the squad was ranked first nationally in the AVCA Division III polls en route to a season-ending No. 5 ranking, and was led by first-team AVCA All-American Chris Vrooman. In Walker’s second season at Juniata College, the Eagles were ranked in the top four nationally all season (AVCA Poll), posted an undefeated ledger in the Continental Volleyball Conference at 8-0 (28-11 overall) and advanced to the ECAC championship. The squad featured two AVCA All-Americans, four CVC All-Conference picks, a NCAA Statistical Champion and the Continental Volleyball Conference Freshman of the Year. The team led the nation in blocking and hitting.
Prior to coaching at Juniata, he was the head coach of the Penn State women’s club team in the fall of 2009, and coached the team to capture Penn State’s first league tournament of the season. Walker served as an assistant coach for the Penn State-Altoona women's team. In his one-year with the program in the 2007-08 season, the Lions were an AMCC conference finalist and ECAC semifinalist, going 21-9 overall and 7-2 in conference play.
Walker serves USA Volleyball as the national team head coach for the USA Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Team. Walker was tasked with rebuilding the USA program with the goals of qualification each year on the road to Tokyo 2020.
In his first year with Team USA, he served as the head coach for the team that competed at the Defi Sportif in Montreal, Canada. Walker was an assistant coach at both the 2014 ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships in Elblag, Poland and the 2015 ParaPan American Games in Toronto where the team qualified for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games by finishing with the silver medal behind 2016 Paralympic host country of Brasil.
At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Team USA competed at a high level with close competition with the top seven teams in the world. Team USA had missed qualifications for the games, since 2004 Athens, so this was a great step towards the future of the program.
Walker served on the USA Men’s Indoor National Team coaching staff at the 2017 NORCECA Championships where the USA win its 10th NORCECA title with a 5-0 record. The gold medal performance earned Team USA their bid to the 2018 World Championship. Shortly after, Walker led the USA Men’s National Sitting Team to a silver medal at the 2017 Paravolley Zonal Championships in Montreal where they earned their bid to the 2018 World Championships as well losing to #2 Brasil in the gold medal match in a competitive point for point 4-set match.
He holds coaching certifications from USA Volleyball as a CAP Level 5 and USA Beach.
Walker attended The Pennsylvania State University where he majored in Kinesiology, emphasizing in Fitness Studies, Walker went on to earn a Bachelor of Sport Science in Sport Coaching from the United States Sports Academy. He is currently working on a Masters in Education in through Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is married to Heather Walker who works as a Clinical Coordinator in Hematology and Leukemia at the Yale Cancer Center. Coach Walker and his wife currently presides in Stratford, Connecticut.