Former University of Arizona assistant coach and Long Beach State standout Steve Walker enters his second season at the helm of the UC Davis women's volleyball program. He became the program's eighth head coach in February 2006, concluding a nation-wide search.
Before his arrival at UC Davis, Walker served three seasons at the University of Arizona as an assistant coach for David Rubio. His recruiting expertise brought to the Wildcat program such talent as Dominique Lamb, who earned All-Pacific-10 Conference honorable mention as a sophomore in 2005; and Brittany Leonard, who made that conference's All-Freshman Team last year. Arizona went 25-6 in 2005, and finished second in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 mark.
"David Rubio is the best at what he does," Walker said. "It has been through his hard work and diligence that a program that went winless in the Pac-10 his first year has gone to the NCAA Tournament 11 times since. If ever there was someone to model yourself after, he's one. Without question, his drive and determination to make Arizona volleyball what it is -- I'll carry that with me.
"Being in the Pac-10 Conference has prepared me with an opportunity to be successful in matches and in recruiting. It takes hard work on a daily basis because of the competition you're against. As UC Davis moves into the Big West, we'll have to put in that same kind of time and dedication. I want to bring the same work ethic that has carried me through the Pac-10."
Walker's recent service was his second stint at Arizona. He had been a volunteer assistant in 2000, when UA won a school-record 28 matches and won a share of the Pac-10 Conference title. In between his stops in Tucson, Walker spent two years as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama. As a full-time recruiter for the Crimson Tide, he brought in a group of student-athletes that captured seven Academic All-Southeastern Conference awards, a second-team All-SEC nod, and helped post the nation's top team grade-point average in 2002.
"UC Davis really embodies my philosophy of what a student-athlete should be," said Walker. "It is the symbol of what a student-athlete represents, and this will be a great opportunity to match those ideals."
Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Walker had served as head boys' and girls' volleyball coach at Westminster High School in 1997, volunteer coach at Golden West College, and head boys' and girls' coach for Surf City Volleyball Club in Huntington Beach, Calif. Walker's 18-and-under team at Surf City ranked No. 2 in Southern California and placed third at the junior national tournament.
In July 2006, he was selected to coach the Northern California Volleyball Association Youth Division team at the Global Challenge in Maribor, Slovenia. His squad tied for third place and claimed a representative on the all-tournament team.
As a collegiate player, Walker was a two-year starting setter at Long Beach State. In 1995, he earned Volleyball Magazine All-America and All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors, led the NCAA in assists and assists per game, and was selected for the U.S. team at the World University Games. Walker left The Beach as the program's all-time leader in assists per game. He graduated from LBSU with a degree in kinesiology in 1996.
Walker later earned his master's degree in teaching and teacher education from Arizona in 2000. During that time, he continued to play club volleyball, serving as team captain for Arizona's national-champion teams in 1999 and 2000. Walker was named tournament MVP at the NIRSA championships in 2000.