The New Albany School District announced the hiring of John Walker as the Bulldogs’ new head coach Wednesday. Walker will replace Curt Fowler, who served at the helm for approximately 10 years before stepping down after the 2009 season to take the head coaching position at Blue Mountain College.
“We had a lot of quality candidates for this position and it was a tough decision,” NAHS principal Jay Foster said. “John Walker stood out because of his experience at Delta State, and he was highly recommended by their head coach, Mike Kinnison. We would like to thank Coach Fowler for the job he has done and for his dedication. He has given us a surge and made us very proud of this program.”
Walker comes to New Albany after serving as an assistant at Delta State University this past season. Receiving both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from DSU, Walker worked with the outfielders and hitters for the Statesmen, who picked up two Gulf South Conference West Division Championships, as well as a GSC Tournament Championship and South Central Regional runner-up during his tenure.
“John Walker has had recent experience with Delta State, which is an outstanding baseball program, and I’ve heard nothing but good things from their staff about his baseball knowledge, work ethic and enthusiasm,” New Albany Superintendent Chuck Garrett said. “He has great experience working with young men and I think he’ll do a great job with our program.”
Before pursuing his graduate degree, Walker started his coaching career in the Water Valley School District, where he was the assistant varsity baseball coach from 2003-07. During this time, the Blue Devils were state runner-up and north half champions in 2006, while picking up regional championships from 2005-07. In 2004, Walker served as interim head coach, as the Blue Devils were the regional runner-up that year.
“This is a great opportunity,” Walker said. “I’ve heard that this program is successful, so my hope is to come in and continue that success. Obviously our goal will be like that of every other high school, and that’s to advance in the playoffs and strive for more success.”
Walker also served as an assistant coach for WVHS’ football and basketball programs, as well as the head coach for the junior high basketball team and assistant for junior high football.
Currently, Walker works as an assistant coach for the North Delta Dealers in the BNA Bank Cotton States League.
“John brings a lot of energy with him,” Foster explained. “We think he will have a strong work ethic and will really push our players to be successful.”
Walker will meet with the team on Monday, and although he does not know a lot about the kids, he is excited about the opportunity to work with a young team and watch them develop.
“I don’t know much about their talent level, but I’m excited to meet with them,” Walker said. “I know that New Albany is a baseball town, and it’s a sport the community loves. Hopefully with the youth teams in the area, they can develop and we can have a program that will build their interest in playing for New Albany.”