Monday, September 22, 2014

UIS' Walker fulfills lifelong ambition by becoming head basketball coach

Bill Walker can celebrate his 50th birthday knowing he achieved a lifelong goal earlier in 2014. 

After being an assistant coach for half his life, the Missouri native was hired to lead the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program six months ago. “I felt like as a guy who had some really good and high-profile assistant jobs — and if I really wanted to dig into coaching — I needed to be a head coach while I still have the intersection of experience and energy, which to me is right now,” 

Walker said. “It’s been fun. It’s been different since assistant coaches make suggestions and head coaches make decisions. I’m making decisions now instead of suggestions.” 

Walker, 49, became a first-time head coach in late April when UIS hired him as a replacement for the fired Ben Wierzba. Walker had long prepared for the opportunity to be a head coach. He was a college assistant for 25 years, including 11 in NCAA Division I, and an NBA scout with New Orleans. He was an assistant at Drake last season. Previously he had been at Texas A&M and Minnesota. 

This story was reported by The State Journal Register on September 22, 2014. 

Read the article online.