Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

July 9, 2013

Butler adds Walker, Gurss to Wichita State baseball coaching staff

(Continued)

WICHITA, Kan. — “My family and I are blessed at the opportunity to become a part of the Shocker family,” Walker said. “This opportunity to be a part of such a great tradition with such storied success is an honor for us. Being a player for Coach Butler and also coaching with him the last three years has allowed me the opportunity to understand his vision for success. Understanding Coach Butler’s desire and work ethic will allow us to practice efficiently and effectively in motivating our student-athletes to succeed at a high level.  I am thankful to be a part of such an experienced coaching staff and look forward to working alongside Coach Kemnitz and learning from him and his wealth of knowledge. The future is bright and exciting times are to come.  With energy, enthusiasm, and hard work, we can carry on the success of the great Shocker program.”

During his three years at Arkansas, Walker helped the Razorbacks to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a College World Series appearance in 2012. The Razorbacks also entered the 2013 season as the number one team in the country.

As a coach, he organized hitting schools and developed summer, winter and spring camps, served as either the first base or third base coach, was the catching coach and assisted Butler with hitting.

As the catching coach, Walker was instrumental in developing Jake Wise and James McCann at Arkansas. During the 2012 season, Wise was one of the best defensive catchers in the country, not committing an error in 438 chances in 2012. Wise was also effective in slowing down the opposition’s running game as he threw out 17 would-be base stealers. Wise threw out 20 runners in 2013 and had just four errors for a .991 fielding percentage.

    

In his first season on the Arkansas coaching staff, Walker mentored McCann, one of the top catchers in collegiate baseball. McCann, who was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, enjoyed his best season at the plate, finishing the year with a .306 batting average with six homers and 38 RBI. Defensively, McCann had a .992 fielding percentage, committing just four errors, while throwing out 20 would-be base stealers. McCann was a second round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 MLB Draft.

    

Walker joined the Arkansas coaching staff after spending four years in the Anaheim Angels minor league system. Walker closed the 2010 season with the Angels’ triple-A squad, Salt Lake City. In six games with Salt Lake City, he hit .300 with six RBI.

    

A three-year letterwinner at Arkansas (2005-07), Walker played in 164 games, including 145 starts, and hit .260 with 26 home runs and 98 RBI. Walker was stellar in the field for the Razorbacks, committing just five errors over his three-year career for a .996 fielding percentage. During his career, he played in three SEC Tournaments and three NCAA Tournaments and earned all-regional honors in 2005 and 2007. He also served as team captain in 2006 and 2007. He was drafted in the 29th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Anaheim Angels.

    

A native of Tulsa, Okla., and a graduate of Tulsa Union High School, Walker graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2010 with a degree in kinesiology. Walker and his wife, McKenzi, have two children, Claire (4) and Joseph (4).

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