Dec. 7, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Former Western Carolina defensive coordinator Curtis Walker was named the head football coach at his alma mater, Catawba College, this week. Walker, a former All-American football player for the Indians, spent one season on the Catamount coaching staff after 10 seasons on the Coastal Carolina staff.
The announcement was made earlier this week by Brien Lewis, Catawba College's president. It is Walker's second stint on the football coaching staff with his alma mater, joining the Indians' staff in 1995 under head coach David Bennett and progressing to recruiting coordinator (1997) and defensive coordinator (2001) before following Bennett to Coastal Carolina.
"We greatly appreciate all of Curtis Walker's efforts during his time on our coaching staff and what he meant to our program with his leadership in our football program here at Western Carolina University," said head coach Mark Speir, who just completed his first season at the helm in Cullowhee. "We're extremely excited for Curtis in his new venture in becoming a head football coach at his alma mater. I know that he'll do extremely well."
Speir added, "Curtis helped us lay a solid foundation for our future and we're going to miss him. We have already begun our search for a new defensive coordinator. But, with another week of recruiting for our next incoming class, we are 100-percent focused on our last week on the road. We're going to take our time and find the right man and the right coach to lead our defense into the future here at Western Carolina."
A native of Burlington, N.C., Walker joined the Catamount coaching staff in January of 2012. His responsibilities included preparing practice schedules, opponent breakdowns, game week strategies and a defensive game plan for each opponent, in addition to recruiting in North Carolina and Virginia.
Walker was a four-year starter and three-time All-American linebacker for Catawba in 1989-92. He was inducted into the Catawba Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame in 2008. Walker was Catawba's team most valuable player in 1991 and served as team captain in 1992.
He still holds the Catawba single game record for tackles with 25 stops against Wofford in 1991, while also continuing to own the all-time single season record for fumble recoveries with six, also set in 1991.
Following graduation from Catawba and a two-year coaching period at Salisbury High School, Walker joined David Bennett's staff at Catawba in 1995. He coached the linebackers and began coordinating all recruiting in 1997. Walker was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2001 and the Indians were ranked first in Division II in scoring defense and 15th in total defense.
At Catawba while on Bennett's staff, Walker was a part of three South Atlantic Conference championships (1996, 2000 and 2001) and three NCAA playoff appearances (1999, 2000 and 2001). The Indians were a combined 22-3 in 2000-01, a lot of the success due to a suffocating defense. Catawba allowed just 13.5 points per game during those 25 games.
When Bennett left to begin the football program at Coastal Carolina in December 2001, following a season in which the Indians advanced to the NCAA Division II national semifinals, Walker followed to coordinate the defense. Walker, who also coordinated the special teams, remained at Coastal until December 2011.
During Walker's 10 seasons in Conway, the Chanticleers had 44 All-Big South accolades as Coastal Carolina captured three consecutive Big South Conference titles (2004-2006).
Walker was a two-time football all-conference performer at Graham High School, prior to graduating in 1988. He was the Mid-State Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1987. He and his wife, Sheka, have two sons, Jalon and Curtis, Jr.