DAPHNE, Ala. — United States Sports Academy alumnus Greg Walker, whose volleyball coaching experience includes leading the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, has been named assistant men’s volleyball coach for the University of Southern California.
Walker earned his Bachelor of Sports Science in sports coaching cum laude from the Academy in 2012 and served the past three years the head men’s volleyball coach at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, an NCAA Division I university in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
Prior to joining Sacred Heart, Walker was head men’s coach at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia from 2014 to 2015. He led the Battlers to a 21-6 record. Four of his players earned all-conference honors.
Walker was a women’s assistant coach at Mississippi State University for the 2013 collegiate season. He led Pfeiffer University of North Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams starting in 2012. While there, he guided the men’s squad to the Conference Carolinas conference championship and coached the league’s player of the year.
Walker said he is pleased with his Academy education that has enabled him to move forward in his career.
“The thing that makes the United States Sports Academy so great is that it offers sport specific studies with incredibly supportive faculty to help with the distance learning,” Walker said.
“Having the rolling admissions definitely helped fit my career path as I had been in collegiate coaching while taking classes. Having that flexibility is what made the program attractive to me, along with very supportive and understanding instructors. The faculty and instruction at the Academy are second to none.
“The faculty also has an extensive amount of work in the athletics field. They are able to really facilitate discussions and actually take the time to really connect with me as a student.
“I believe that distance learning instructors have to go the extra mile to really connect with students. From my experience, the Academy has a primary focus on really building around that concept. That is what has made it enjoyable as a distance learning student.
“The Academy has provided me more insight and diverse views on specific topics that relate to my field in collegiate athletics and international sport. I would recommend the Academy to my peers as I had a very enjoyable experience with my instructors.”
A native of Huntingdon, Pa., Walker has been active with the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team since 2013 and has served as head coach since 2016. Sitting volleyball is a variation of the original game but designed for disabled athletes. The sport is governed by the same rules as the able-bodied game with a few modifications. Players must maintain seated contact with the floor, the net is just over 3 feet high, and the court is approximately 33 feet by 20 feet. World ParaVolley is the international sport federation and USA Volleyball is the national governing body.
Highlights of his service include leading the American team in the 2016 Paralympics and to a silver medal at the 2017 ParaPan American Championships.
Walker also recently served as a consultant with the U.S. Men’s National Team, which won the 2017 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Championships to qualify for the 2018 World Championships set for September. Most recently, he was an assistant with the USA men in their bronze medal run at the Volleyball Nations League.
Walker, 30, was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association “30 Under 30” recipient in 2017, an award that honors up-and-coming coaching talent at all levels of the sport.