Rex Walters joins Wake Forest Basketball Staff

The Wake Forest men’s basketball program announced Monday (May 13) the addition of Rex Walters as an Associate Head Coach. Walters joins the program after spending last season as the Special Assistant to the Head Coach at Nevada.

“First and foremost, I am excited about working for Danny Manning,” said Walters. “Coach Manning is someone that I have the utmost amount of respect for. Any recruit who has aspirations of being a great man, a great student and a great basketball player will not find a better example of these three qualities than Danny Manning. I am looking forward to recruiting and coaching the young men in this program and will have fun working alongside a staff of Randolph Childress, Steve Woodberry, Ernie Nestor and Justin Bauman.

“Just as importantly, the opportunity to work at such the great academic institution like Wake Forest has a special appeal to me,” said Walters. “I’ve always enjoyed recruiting true student-athletes and I know it’s going to be easy to talk about all that Wake Forest has to offer our future Demon Deacons. Finally, the opportunity for my family to experience the Wake Forest community and the city of Winston-Salem gives me such peace of mind, knowing that my wife and kids will be around great people. I am very blessed to be working at Wake Forest and will work my tail off to make all Demon Deacons proud.”

Walters has 11 years of head coaching experience, 10 at the Division I level and one in the NBA G-League. He has also spent a season as an assistant coach in the NBA. His coaching career followed a 10-year professional playing career, including seven seasons in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

“I am excited to have Rex join our coaching staff,” said head coach Danny Manning. “He has tremendous experience as a collegiate head coach and as an assistant coach in the NBA. Rex is widely respected as a great X-and-Os coach and the impact he made at Nevada last season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, was phenomenal. I know our players are going to enjoy learning from his years of experience, both as a player and as a coach.”

Walters spent the majority of his head coaching career at San Francisco, leading the Dons from 2009-16. The 2014 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, he led USF to a school-record 13 WCC wins that season and an appearance in the NIT. In 2012, Walters led the Dons to their first 20-win season in 30 years, the first of two 20-win seasons in three years.

After serving as an assistant coach at Valparaiso from 2003-05 and as the Associate Head Coach at Florida Atlantic in 2005-06, Walters took over the FAU program when Matt Doherty took the head coaching job at SMU. In his rookie season as a head coach in 2006-07, Walters led the Owls to their second consecutive winning season and in 2007-08 guided the team to a school-record 2,367 points.

Walters’ most recent head coaching experience came in 2016-17 with the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons. He led the team to a 26-24 record, the first winning-record for the franchise.

In 2017-18, Walters was an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s staff with the Pistons. That season, he helped the Pistons rank in the top 10 in the NBA in four defensive categories (10th in defensive rating, 8th in scoring defense, 8th in forced turnovers and 2nd in fewest free throws allowed).

Last season, Walters served as Special Assistant to the Head Coach on Eric Musselman’s staff at Nevada. The Wolf Pack went 29-5 and was ranked in the AP top 10 for most of the season. Walters helped Nevada improve from No. 108 in defensive efficiency the year before he arrived to No. 35 last season, a 73-spot move up in the rankings.

As a player, Walters began his collegiate career at Northwestern, leading the Wildcats in scoring and assists during his sophomore season in 1989-90. He transferred to Kansas and after sitting out the 1990-91 season, he twice earned All-Big 8 honors for the Jayhawks. In 1991-92, Walters averaged 16.0 points per game and was named the Big 8 Newcomer of the Year. As a senior in 1992-93, Walters led the Big 8 with 83 3-pointers and averaged 15.3 points per game as the Jayhawks reached the 1993 Final Four.

Walters was the No. 16 overall selection of the 1993 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets and played seven seasons in the league. In his third NBA season, he was traded from the Nets to the 76ers, where he was teammates with Sharone Wright, father of current Demon Deacon guard Sharone Wright, Jr. He played his final three seasons in the league with the Miami Heat before concluding his professional career playing overseas in Spain and with the Kansas City Knights of the ABA.

During his playing career, Walters played for three coaches enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame: Roy Williams (Kansas), Chuck Daly (New Jersey Nets) and Pat Riley (Miami Heat).

With Walters’ addition, the Wake Forest coaching staff of Manning, Walters, Associate Head Coach Randolph Childress and Assistant Coach Steve Woodberry have a combined 52 seasons of professional playing experience, including 24 years in the NBA.

Walters will officially join the Wake Forest coaching staff on May 20.

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