Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Aggies to announce Walker as coach on Wednesday
ESPN.com news services
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker has been hired as New Mexico State's new head coach.
NMSU athletic director McKinley Boston announced the hiring Tuesday. The university scheduled a news conference Wednesday morning to formally introduce Walker.
The move was first reported by ESPN's Joe Schad.
Walker, in his third season with UCLA, visited NMSU on Monday and met with administrators and toured the athletic facilities.
He will replace Hal Mumme, who was fired in early December after the Aggies went 3-9 last fall, including a 1-7 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.
Walker becomes the eighth black head coach at the 119 major college football schools, and fourth hired this month, along with Mike Haywood at Miami of Ohio, Mike Locksley at New Mexico and Ron English at Eastern Michigan.
The 48-year-old Walker has a major rebuilding project on his hands with New Mexico State. The Aggies lost their last seven games to end the season and own the nation's current longest streak without a bowl appearance, last playing in the 1960 Sun Bowl.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said Tuesday he has no doubts that Walker will be successful at New Mexico State.
"DeWayne is a first-class coach and a first-class man who certainly deserves the opportunity to run his own program," Neuheisel said in a statement, adding that Walker has been a terrific asset to UCLA on and off the field.
At UCLA, Walker has helped improve the Bruins defense. In 2008, ULCA's passing defense ranked 11th overall, holding opponents to just 167.6 yards per game. In 2007, UCLA was ranked 14th in rushing defense with 109.2 yards per game, 29th in total defense with 343.23 yards and 29th in scoring defense with 22.3 points.
Walker joined UCLA from the Washington Redskins, where he coached the secondary during the 2004 and 2005 seasons under head coach Joe Gibbs.
Walker spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons as secondary coach of the New York Giants under coordinator Johnnie Lynn. He also served as secondary coach of the New England Patriots for three seasons and was an associate head coach at USC under Pete Carroll.
A former cornerback, Walker was a two-year starter at Minnesota. After college, he played one season each with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL, and the Oakland Invaders and the Arizona Outlaws in the USFL.