Bill Walker Named Head Basketball Coach at Missouri S&T

Missouri S&T is seeking to reverse its recent fortunes in men’s basketball and is turning to a former member of the program to do just that, as Bill Walker has been named as the new head coach for the Miners.

Walker, who becomes the 15th head coach in the history of the Miner program and will begin his duties at S&T on April 1, has spent the last five seasons as the head coach at the University of Illinois Springfield – who competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference along with Missouri S&T – and comes back to the place where he played his collegiate basketball from 1984-87 under Billy Key.

“We are excited to have Bill and his wife Karen joining our Miner family.  I know Bill will bring a great deal of knowledge and passion to the program,” said S&T director of athletics Mark Mullin. “He has a tremendous amount of basketball knowledge, is a great communicator and knows our institution.  He will quickly become an important asset to the men’s basketball program, the department, the campus and the community.  I know he is excited to get started on his plan to build a successful program at S&T as we are.” 

“I want to express my thanks to Mark Mullin for letting me come back to Rolla to guide my alma mater,” Walker said.  “I always loved my time at the university and no matter where I’ve been, I have followed the program closely and have been rooting for it from afar.  It is a great honor to come back and occupy the seat that was held by Billy Key and Dale Martin, which they held so honorably during my time there as a student-athlete.

“I have seen that gym rocking in the past, both when I played and during the years when Coach Martin had some of his really good teams,” Walker added.  “I know this is a program with a lot of potential.  Missouri S&T itself has done a number of things that are trending in the right direction, including improving the facilities and growing the enrollment and my goal is to bring the men’s basketball program back to that past level of excitement.”

Since completing his playing career, Walker – who graduated from Missouri S&T in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in history – went into the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant under legendary coach Gene Bartow at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.  In his last season at UAB, the Blazers finished third in the National Invitational Tournament.

He moved on to become a full-time assistant at two institutions that the Miners were competing against at the time in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, first for seven seasons at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and then for three years at the University of Central Missouri in his hometown of Warrensburg, Mo.

After his time at UCM, Walker moved up to the NCAA Division I ranks as he spent eight years as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, where the Golden Gophers recorded five winning seasons and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2005, along with four appearances in the National Invitational Tournament.   While at Minnesota, he helped recruit Big Ten “Freshmen of the Year” Rick Rickert in 2002 and Kris Humphries in 2005, as well as bringing in a recruiting class in 2001 rated as one of the top 10 in the nation that year.

Walker left Minnesota following the 2006-07 season to join the staff at Texas A&M University, where he spent the next four seasons and helped the Aggies to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament; three of those teams advanced to the second round of the tournament.  Texas A&M had a record of 97-40 during those four seasons when Walker was a member of its staff.

Following the time at Texas A&M, Walker worked for two seasons as a professional scout for the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association before returning to the coaching ranks in 2013 as an assistant coach at Drake University.   Following one season at Drake, Walker was named as the head coach at UIS, where he took the Prairie Stars to back-to-back 14-win seasons after they had finished below the .500 mark in seven of their first eight years as a member of the GLVC.

Athletics run deep in the Walker family.  His father, Floyd, served as the director of athletics at Central Missouri and is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics Hall of Fame, while his sister, Barbara, is the deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator at Wake Forest University.

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