LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has announced the hiring of Darrell Walker as the program’s 23rd head men’s basketball coach. An official news conference will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, March 30, on the UA Little Rock campus in the Legends Room of the Jack Stephens Center.
Walker brings with him extensive basketball experience at both the collegiate and professional level. His playing experience includes three years at the University of Arkansas and 10 seasons in the National Basketball Association, followed by a 20-year professional coaching career, including serving as head coach for two different NBA franchises.
Most recently, Walker spent two seasons as the head coach at Clark Atlanta University, compiling an overall record of 45-18 and leading the Panthers to back-to-back NCAA Division II tournament appearances.
This past season, Walker guided the Panthers to a 25-6 mark, including a 16-3 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) record, finishing second in the SIAC East division. Clark Atlanta advanced to the SIAC tournament title game, falling to Claflin.
In his first season in Atlanta, Walker’s Panthers went 21-12 and 12-5 in SIAC play, tying for first in the SIAC East. Clark Atlanta captured the 2017 SIAC tournament title, downing Fort Valley State 64-62 in the championship game.
His time in Atlanta marked Walker’s first collegiate coaching experience following 20 years of coaching professionally. Walker served as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors from 1996-98 and the Washington Wizards in 2000, tallying 56 career victories at the NBA level.
Walker also spent time as the head coach of the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association and the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. He served as an assistant coach in the NBA for the Toronto Raptors (1995-96), New Orleans Hornets (2004-08), Detroit Pistons (2008-11) and New York Knicks (2012-14).
A native of Chicago, Walker played one season at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith before spending three seasons at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Under head coach Eddie Sutton, Walker amassed 1,325 points, ranking 18th all-time on the Razorback scoring list, while ranking fourth in program steals (230) and sixth in free throws made (524).
He was named a second team All-American and a first team NABC All-District selection in 1983, helping Arkansas reach the Sweet 16 in both 1981 and 1983. Walker was the two-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, being named to the 1983 NABC All-Star game.
Walker was the 12th overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 1983 NBA Draft, beginning a 10-year NBA career in which he suited up for five different teams. Walker averaged 8.9 points, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game during his professional career, playing for NBA Hall of Fame coaches Hubie Brown, Wes Unseld, Chuck Daly and Phil Jackson.
He was named to the 1984 NBA All-Rookie Team and nearly averaged a triple-double in 1989-90 in Washington, averaging 9.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. He closed out his playing career as a member of the NBA champion Chicago Bulls in 1993.
Walker earned his degree in human resources from the University of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was enshrined into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor in 2008.