Another day means another coaching hire for head football coach Jedd Fisch.
On Wednesday morning UA announced the hiring of veteran NFL and college coach DeWayne Walker as the Wildcats newest member of the Wildcats defensive coaching staff who will coach the defensive backs. Walker joins the program with nearly 20 years of college experience in a variety of key coaching positions, including six seasons coaching in the Pac-12.
“Coach Walker and I have known one another since 2004 and worked together with the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said Fisch. “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.”
A former head coach at New Mexico State, Walker’s elite coaching experience also includes three seasons as UCLA’s defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 and also served as interim head coach. Walker arrives in Tucson with a wealth of NFL experience in addition to his two decades at the collegiate level. The Los Angeles native spent 14 NFL seasons coaching defensive backs with the Patriots, Giants, Jaguars, Browns and the Washington Football Team.
“This is a great opportunity for me to work with Coach Fisch as part of his coaching staff at Arizona,” Walker said. “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.”
Most recently, Walker has served NFL defensive backs for seven seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-16) and Cleveland Browns (2017-19). During that stretch, Walker’s defensive backs ranked among the NFL’s top 10 units in passing yards allowed twice and were top 10 in interceptions twice.
In between a pair of extended NFL stints, Walker logged four seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State (2009-12) and served as defensive coordinator at UCLA from 2006 to 2008. He was selected as UCLA’s interim head coach at the conclusion of the 2007 season and coached the team in their Las Vegas Bowl matchup against BYU.
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.
Information for this story provided by the UA Communications office.