By: Olivia Wile
With a new semester brings a new addition to the Athletic Department at the University of Findlay.
James Walker was named the new head coach of the UF women’s soccer program on Friday, Dec. 22.
Originally from Birmingham, England, Walker graduated from Tiffin University and secured his first coaching job as head coach of the Dragon’s women’s soccer team. He led the team to four American Mideast Conference Championship crowns and an overall record of 84-33-4.
UF Athletic Director Brandi Laurita explains that after conducting a thorough hiring process, Walker was a standout.
“We had a very competitive candidate pool and after a thorough vetting, Coach Walker was the clear selection,” said Laurita. “His experience, vision, and passion for Soccer and the student-athletes involved will help move our program in a positive direction.”
Walker will join UF with a wide variety of experiences. He has been the Executive Director of Coaches at Pacesetter Soccer Club in Toledo, Oh. for the last eight years. Before that, he served as Top Associate Head Coach of the men’s soccer program at Penn State University and Head Coach of the women’s soccer program at Duquense University.
“I can’t wait to start working with the players on and off the field as well as getting to know them as student athletes,” said Walker. “I am really excited about moving the program forward and competing in the GMAC conference next year and shaping the players over the winter, spring and summer to be ready to play.”
Laurita explains how both Walker’s experience and goals for the team will be beneficial to the program.
“He has successfully coached and played at a high level so his soccer knowledge is vast,” she said. “Coach Walker is also committed to the development of the young women on the team both on and off the field a characteristic that is highly important to the Athletic Department at Findlay.”
Freshman Nicole Burke was among the players included in the hiring process. She says she is excited for Walker to take over.
“I am excited for the coaching change,” Burke said. “I think that Coach Walker will contribute his years of knowledge and skill to our program.”
Walker is committed not only to improving the soccer program itself, but also to developing a team with strong morale.
“I want the members of our program to be good ambassadors for the University within the Findlay Community,” said Walker. “From a soccer stand point, I hope to see us competing in the conference and making the post season next year and then in the next few years challenging to win the conference.”
Walker took over full time on Jan. 2. The team begins lifting and conditioning this month as they prepare for their spring season.
“We are also excited to have Coach Walker join our staff and Oiler Family as his coaching experience and his life experiences will help other coaches and staff in the department learn and grow,” Laurita concludes.