DOVER, Del. -- Delaware State president Harry L. Williams announced the hiring of Keith Walker -- who served as the interim head coach for the last third of the 2013-2014 season -- as the permanent head coach.
In announcing the head coaching appointment, Williams said that Walker made a strong case for himself by the way he took over the leadership of the team and energized the players as interim coach.
“Coach Walker did everything we asked of him when he agreed to be the interim head coach in the last month of the past season,” Williams said. “He stabilized the team, resulting in a more competitive unit on the court and a higher winning percentage.”
Williams commended the search committee, noting that it ultimately came up with a group of strong finalists for the post. “The fact that Walker emerged from this tough search process as the head coach selection reflects well on his most recent interim performance as well as on his longtime dedicated service as assistant coach,” Williams added.
DSU director of athletics Candy Young said the team’s performance under Walker's interim leadership has led to the conclusion that he can move the men’s basketball program in the right direction. “The players responded positively to his coaching during his interim tenure and we believe that trend will continue and result in greater success for the Hornet men’s basketball program with Walker at the helm,” she said.
Walker said that he is “very appreciative” of the head coaching opportunity. “I look forward to getting this men’s basketball program back to the championship level where it used to be,” the new head coach said.
Walker, a DSU men’s basketball assistant coach since July 2000, was appointed as interim head coach on Jan. 30, 2014. In the subsequent 11 games, Walker led the Hornets to a 5-6 overall record and 5-5 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Prior to the appointment, the team was 4-15 overall and 0-6 in the conference.
During Walker’s interim tenure, Delaware State posted a season-high three-game win streak and later achieved an upset victory against the 2014 MEAC tournament runner-up Morgan State.
As an assistant coach, Walker worked primarily with the DSU forwards and centers. During the 2013-14 season, Walker’s work with third-year player Kendall Gray was instrumental in the Hornet center’s team record of 81 blocks that year and being named on the All-MEAC second team. Walker’s defensive coaching was also validated during the 2011-12 season when the Hornets had a school-record 192 blocks, leading the MEAC in that category.
Walker was a part of the coaching staff that helped lead the Hornets to three consecutive MEAC regular-season titles from 2004-07, during which DSU posted a league record of 46-8 (.850). The Hornets appeared in three consecutive MEAC tournament championship games, capturing the title and accompanying NCAA tournament berth in 2005. The following year, Delaware State defeated Northern Arizona on the road in the National Invitation Tournament for the team's only national postseason win.
Prior to his arrival at DSU, Walker served as head coach at Division II Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., from 1993 to 2000. He posted a 91-102 overall record at Shaw, including a 21-9 mark and the school’s first NCAA tournament berth during the 1994-95 season.
Before entering the coaching ranks, he enjoyed a playing career of seven years with various European and U.S. professional basketball leagues, including a brief stint with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers during the 1985-86 season.
As a three-year collegiate player at Clemson, he helped lead the Tigers to a 23-9 overall record and an Elite Eight appearance in the 1980 NCAA tournament.