California head men’s basketball coach Wyking Jones’ coaching staff continues to take shape with the addition of assistant coach Chris Walker and director of operations Keith Brown.
Walker boasts more than two decades of collegiate coaching experience, including as the interim head coach at Texas Tech and five seasons as an associate head coach. Brown, whose career includes stops at Nevada, Coppin State, Seattle and Mount St. Mary’s, will oversee the program’s day-to-day operations while managing administrative tasks and working closely with athletic department staff.
Walker has been a part of four NCAA Tournament squads with eight total postseason appearances. He has coached NBA Draft selections including Brandon Armstrong (Pepperdine), Michael Bradley (Villanova), J.R. Giddens (New Mexico), Stephane Lasme (Massachussetts) and Dan Langhi (Vanderbilt).
“When you look at Chris’ resume, you get a sense of the relationships he’s built in his two decades of experience from coast to coast. Those relationships are both crucial and beneficial, and made Chris a must-have on my staff,” Jones said. “He is someone that I trust and has been a sounding board for me for many years. Having him as a part of this new chapter in Cal basketball is exciting for our program.”
For the last four years, Walker worked as a consultant for Under Armour, a radio host and a color analyst for CBS Sports Network and the American Sports Network.
Walker served as the interim head coach at Texas Tech for the 2012-13 season. Under his direction, the Red Raiders improved in nine statistical categories, including points per game, steals and assists. Texas Tech led the Big 12 in steals and ranked 41st in the country while posting improved overall and conference records. Off the court, five student-athletes were named Academic All-Big 12 members. Walker joined the Texas Tech staff in 2011 as the associate head coach, signing three ESPN Top 150 recruits as the program’s lead recruiting coordinator.
Before arriving in Lubbock, he spent two seasons at his alma mater – Villanova – under Jay Wright. Walker was responsible for on-court teaching and development, recruiting and scouting, helping the Wildcats to a 46-20 record with a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament. Villanova recorded its best start in school and Big East history (20-0) and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Walker helped the Wildcats sign the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class, including McDonald’s All-American JayVaughn Pinkston. Walker also assisted Wright on the 2010 USA Select Team.
Walker spent two seasons at the University of New Mexico as an assistant for current UCLA head coach Steve Alford from 2007-09, contributing to a turnaround in which the Lobos went from eighth in a nine-team Mountain West Conference in 2007 to a share of the conference title in 2009. As the team’s recruiting coordinator, he landed a top 30 recruiting class and coached All-American and eventual Boston Celtics first-round pick J.R. Giddens.
Walker’s career also includes stops as an assistant at UMass under Steve Lappas, who he also coached with at Villanova in 2000-01, and as an associate head coach at Pepperdine (1999-00) and Vanderbilt (1996-99). In his single season in Malibu, Pepperdine clinched the West Coast Conference regular-season title and an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
He began his coaching career at Loyola Marymount in 1992, where he helped the Lions improve from eighth in the West Coast Conference in his first season to second four years later.
As a player, Walker started 96 games at point guard for Villanova under head coach Rollie Massimino and helped the Wildcats to two NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT appearances. His 404 career assists ranked seventh among program records and his 185 career steals ranked fourth.
Walker graduated from Villanova in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to this amazing opportunity,” Walker said. “Cal made an excellent choice in Wyking Jones and it is with pleasure that I’ll serve as a part of his staff.”
Brown joins the Golden Bears following stops at Nevada, Coppin State, Seattle and Mount St. Mary’s, where he worked in both coaching and administrative roles.
“Keith brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position,” Jones said. “He is extremely organized and is an excellent communicator – the two qualities that I feel are most important in being an exceptional director of basketball operations. His 15 years of coaching at the collegiate level are an added bonus that will benefit our program tremendously.”
Brown most recently served as an assistant coach at Coppin State for the 2016-17, and prior to that he was special assistant to the head coach at Mount St. Mary’s. As special assistant, Brown was responsible for analyzing team performance to aid with practice, game scouting and competition.
Before he joined the Mount, Brown was a six-year coach at Nevada, where he helped the Wolf Pack to the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title and a pair of National Invitation Tournament berths. While Brown was in Reno, the Pack posted two 20-win seasons, including a 28-7 record in 2012. Under his tutelage, Deonte Burton and Luke Babbitt earned WAC Player of the Year honors, and Babbitt and Armon Johnson were selected in the 2010 NBA Draft.
From 2006-09, Brown was an assistant coach at Seattle, helping the Redhawks to a 21-8 record in his final season. Prior to that, Brown spent four seasons as an assistant at Portland, assisting in the development of two-time all-conference selection Eugene Jeter.
A Los Angeles native, Brown was an assistant coach at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., from 1998-2002 and spent three years as an assistant varsity coach at Inglewood High School. He also worked with AAU programs in Portland and Washington, D.C.
Brown played at El Camino College from 1988-90, leading his team to a pair of California Community College Final Four appearances. He spent one season playing at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., from 1991-92.
He and Jones share the same alma mater — St. Bernard High School in Playa Del Rey, Calif.
“I am really excited to join Coach Jones and the California family,” Brown said. “To be a part of this prominent university and the great California basketball tradition is humbling. I truly believe Coach Jones’ strong basketball mind, great work ethic and uptempo brand will positively impact this program and the Cal community.”
Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hampton University in 1993 and his master’s of education with an emphasis in physical education from Azusa Pacific University in 2000.
Brown and his wife, Robyne, have two daughters, Kennedy and Kensley.