Findlay, Ohio – On Friday, Dec. 22, the University of Findlay athletic department announced the hiring of James Walker as the head coach of the Oilers' women's soccer program. Walker will begin his duties on the first business day of the year, January 2, 2018.
"We are very excited about the wealth of knowledge and experience that Coach Walker brings to the University of Findlay and have full confidence in his ability to elevate our women's soccer program to new heights", said Director of Athletics, Brandi Laurita. "His knowledge of the game of soccer and his ability to recruit and develop talented players are attributes that stood out in the hiring process."
"It's great to be here. (Findlay) is a fantastic school and a great institution for both academics and athletics", Coach Walker stated. "I was extremely impressed when meeting with Brandi (Laurita) and Jim (Givens) in regards to the position and the direction in which they want the program to go."
Walker comes to the University of Findlay after a brief hiatus from college coaching. He has spent the last eight years as the Executive Director of Coach at the Pacesetter Soccer Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Prior to his time at Pacesetter, from 2007-2009, Walker was the top associate head coach for the men's program at Penn State University. While coaching the Nittany Lions, Walker coached the NCAA Division I Lowes Senior Class Award Student of the Year as well ten all-Big Ten performers and four first team all-region selections.
Before his arrival in State College, PA, Walker was the head women's coach at Division I Duquesne University where he inherited a team that, in 2002, had finished with a 5-13-1 record and a 1-9-1 record in A10 play. Walker turned the program around and in the 2005 season amassed a record of 10-6-1 and advanced his team its first ever A10 Championship game.
Walker, Tiffin University graduate, has also seen success at the Division II level and is familiar with the area. His first head coaching job was at Tiffin where he served as head women's coach from 1997 to 2002. While at Tiffin, Walker led the Dragons to four American Mideast Conference Championship crowns and to an 84-33-4 overall record. The Dragons went 45-2-1 in the AMC over his tenure. Tiffin was nationally ranked from 1998 to 2002 under his guidance and advanced to the Regional Final Four each of his six seasons. Walker also led his team to the 2000 and 2002 NAIA National Tournament quarterfinals.
A native of Birmingham, England, Walker earned a bachelor's degree in business from Tiffin in 1997 and completed his MBA in 2000. He competed as a forward for the Dragons from 1992 to 1995 and twice earned NSCAA All-America honors (1994, 1995). Walker helped Tiffin capture the 1992 and 1995 AMC titles.
After graduation, Walker played professionally for the Kalamazoo Kingdom of the USISL from 1996 to 1997 and was a member of the Cleveland Caps in 1998. He was also the assistant men's soccer coach at Tiffin for two seasons and took over the women's helm in 1997.
Walker continued, "I'm extremely excited to get in and start working with the players and watching them develop over the next few months to get ready for the fall season."