In his season-ending press conference in late November, Jedd Fisch said he didn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff to 2023. That apparently as changed.
Cornerbacks coach DeWayne Walker announced on Twitter he had “parted ways” with the Wildcats after two seasons, leaving the UA in need of someone to coach a key defensive position group.
I have parted ways from the University Of Arizona to pursue other opportunities. I appreciate all the hard work of the players i had the opportunity to coach. I valued teaching these young man what i know about football and life. Gonna miss you guys. On to the next chapter.— Dewayne Walker (@dwalkerfb) January 6, 2023
Walker, 62, recently completed his 34th season as a football coach, splitting time between college and pros. Prior to coming to Arizona he spent three years as defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns, and from 2009-12 was head coach at New Mexico State.
The UA ranked 107th nationally and seventh in the Pac-12 in pass defense, giving up 258.6 yards per game with 25 touchdowns against four interceptions. Per Pro Football Focus, Arizona graded 105th out of 131 FBS schools in pass coverage.
Arizona is returning most of its corners from 2022 but has to replace at least one starter, as Christian Roland-Wallace transferred to USC after four years in Tucson. Treydan Stukes started seven games at the other corner spot, with Ephesians Prysock starting three times and Isaiah Rutherford getting two starts.
The UA also brings back freshmen Tacario Davis and Jay-Ayviauynn Celestine and signed five defensive backs in the 2023 recruiting class.
Walker is the third defensive coach from Fisch’s initial staff to move on. Defensive coordinator Don Brown left after the 2021 season to become head coach at UMass, taking linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski with him, and Fisch replaced them with Johnny Nansen and Jason Kaufusi, respectively.
Arizona’s offensive coaching staff has remained intact through Fisch’s tenure.