FLORENCE — Former Lee University assistant coach Chris Walker has been hired as the head women’s soccer coach at the University of North Alabama, UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder announced Thursday.
Walker, a Lee graduate and former player on the men’s soccer team there, has served as an assistant coach with the Lee women’s team for the last three years and helped lead the Flame to two NAIA National Championships.
“Chris is a person of outstanding character and is an outstanding coach,” Linder said. “He has recruited internationally and domestically in expanded regions from our current footprint and we feel he can lead our program to continued success.”
At UNA, Walker follows Graham Winkworth who posted a 111-81-8 record with the Lions over the last 10 years and led UNA to four consecutive NCAA Division II Regional Tournaments from 2009-12. Winkworth resigned his position at UNA in December to become the head coach at the University of South Alabama.
Walker had a successful playing career for the Lee Flames and was
an integral part of the squad that
qualified for the NAIA national tournament in 2005. He was a captain of the Flames squad and earned all-conference honors on three different occasions. He graduated from Lee in December 2006 with a B.A. in Business Administration and then served as a graduate assistant for the Lee men’s team in 2006-07.
In 2008, Walker moved to Tennessee Tech where he worked as the top assistant and finished his M.A. in Education in July 2008. He was also working as a director of coaching at Westfields Soccer Club in Indiana before returning to Lee in 2010 as assistant coach with the women’s program.
Over the last three seasons at Lee, the school has had the best women’s soccer program in the history of the NAIA, winning three Southern States Athletic Conference regular season and tournament title and back-to-back national championships (2010-11). Lee now holds the highest winning percentage in NAIA national tournament play in the history of the organization. Lee also went all three seasons without a loss in league play.
Also during Walker’s time as an assistant at Lee, in addition to the numerous individual awards earned on the field by Flame players, the team carried at least a 3.3 grade point average all three years and was recognized by the NSCAA and NAIA as an Academic Team Scholar Award winner.