The Arizona Wildcats have hired DeWayne Walker to be their cornerbacks coach, bringing in a veteran assistant with more than 30 years of experience in college and the pros.
Walker, 60, did not coach in 2020 after spending three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns. That came after a four-year stint coaching the DBs with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was colleagues with new UA head coach Jedd Fisch.
His last college gig was from 2009-12 when he was head coach at New Mexico State, arguably one of the toughest jobs in FBS. Walker went 10-40 in his tenure in Las Cruces.
Walker was also defensive coordinator at UCLA from 2006-08 and also coached at USC, Cal, Oklahoma State, BYU, Utah State and Mt. San Antonio JC. His other pro jobs were with the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
“Coach Walker and I have known one another since 2004 and worked together with the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Fisch said in a statement. “He is a fantastic coach and person who understands the importance of being smart, tough, and fundamentally sound. By adding DeWayne to our program, we have added incredible experience and a great resource for our student-athletes and coaches. I want to welcome Coach Walker and his family to Wildcat Nation.”
The hiring of Walker means that Chuck Cecil, who was named defensive backs coach on Dec. 31, will focus on safeties. Both have decades of NFL coaching experience.
“This is a great opportunity for me to work with Coach Fisch as part of his coaching staff at Arizona,” Walker said in a statement. “We talked about him eventually becoming a head coach of his own program while we were together with the Jaguars, and it’s a special moment to see that dream come to fruition. I believe this is where I belong because coaching and developing young men in the college game is where I started and it’s my passion. I can’t wait to get to Tucson to coach alongside Jedd and his outstanding staff to work with the young men in the program to be successful on the field and in life after football.”
Here’s more on Walker from the UA press release:
Walker’s tenure as defensive coordinator at UCLA was a resounding success. His 2008 squad ranked 11th in the nation and second in the Pac-10, allowing just 167.6 passing yards per game. The Bruins 2007 defense ranked among the nation’s top 30 units in rushing defense (14th), total defense (29th), scoring defense (29th), tackles for loss (2nd), third down conversion rate (3rd), and sacks per game (15th). The trend in stiff defense at UCLA began in Walker’s first season in 2006, during which they ranked ninth nationally in rushing defense and fifth in third down conversion rate.
He has also spent time coaching defensive backs for the Washington Football Team (2004-05), New York Giants (2002-03), USC Trojans (2001), New England Patriots (1998-2000), and California Golden Bears (1996-97). Walker spent two years in the NFL’s Minority Coaching Internship program while at California, learning from the staffs of the Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.
Walker’s coaching career began as the defensive backs coach, and eventually defensive coordinator, at Mt. San Antonio Community College in California from 1988 to 1992. He then made stops at Utah State (1993), BYU (1994), and Oklahoma State (1995) where he earned his first defensive coordinator role.
Los Angeles native Walker earned his degree in Liberal Arts from Regents College in 1992. His collegiate playing career saw stops at Pasadena City College and Minnesota. Walker played three professional seasons across the CFL and USFL before entering the coaching ranks.
Walker and his wife, Zan, have two daughters, Kesha and Kendra, and one son, Kevan.