DAPHNE, Ala. — A United States Sports Academy alumnus has been named head coach of the United States Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team and will lead the team in the 2016 Paralympic Games.
USA Volleyball has named Greg Walker as head coach for the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team. Walker earned his Bachelor of Sports Science in sports coaching cum laude from the Academy in 2012.
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. Men’s and women’s versions of the sport are played in the Paralympic Games.
A native of Huntingdon, Pa., Walker has been active with the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team since 2013. In his first year he served as head coach for the team that competed in an exhibition at the Defi Sportif in Montreal, Canada. Walker was an assistant coach at both the 2014 ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championship and the 2015 ParaPan American Games in Toronto, Canada, where the team qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games by finishing with the silver medal. Walker will coach the U.S. team in the Paralympic Games this September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I am very familiar with this team and the support staff as I have been able to be on staff for the last quad,” Walker said. “I am excited to be able to continue the journey we all started a few years back.
“Being an assistant coach for the program the last few years has been an incredible opportunity and I am very humbled and honored as well as excited to be able to take on this new opportunity with USA Volleyball.”
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 they offer 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.”
Walker in 2015 accepted the head men’s volleyball coach at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, an NCAA Division I university in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. He will continue in that role. He currently lives in Stratford, Conn.
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. He guided the men’s squad to the Conference Carolinas conference championship and coached the league’s player of the year.
Walker holds USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program Level III and is a lead coach at Gold Medal Squared Elite Volleyball Training.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.