Long before he ever had a Princeton e-mail address or phone number, John Walker had a 1992 Princeton men's lacrosse national championship t-shirt.
Moving forward, he will be much more than just a spectator for the Tigers.
Walker has become Princeton's new defensive coordinator, head coach Chris Bates announced, replacing Greg Raymond, who left to become the head coach at Hobart. Walker will also serve as Princeton's recruiting coordinator.
"John brings a very impressive background to our Princeton Lacrosse family," says Bates. "He is a proven winner and someone our players will respect and respond to immediately. It was very clear throughout our search that John is a man of the highest character. That coupled with his exceptionally strong coaching resume and playing experience make him an wonderful addition to our program."
Walker's leadership ability and lacrosse background certainly cannot be questioned.He comes to Princeton from Virginia, where he was the Cavalier's defensive coordinator the last four years. During that time, he helped UVa to one NCAA championship and two Final Fours.
Walker went into coaching after a brilliant playing career at the United States Military Academy, where he is the school’s third all-time leading scorer. He was also a first-team All-America and Tewarraton Trophy finalist before graduating with a degree in Law and Legal Systems/Systems Engineering in 2006.
He was a four-time All-Patriot League selection and the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2003, as well as a three-time All-America and team captain senior year.
Walker finished his career with 209 points, which was second at Army when he graduated and which is now third. He is also fourth all-time in both goals (125) and assists (84) for the Black Knights.
Walker coached the USMA Prep team to a 27-3 record in three seasons before leaving to go to Virginia, where he helped the team to the 2011 NCAA championship and the 2010 Final Four.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Princeton University Athletics family," Walker says. "The rich tradition and commitment to excellence are what drew me to this wonderful place. I look forward to contributing to the success of the men’s lacrosse program and can’t wait to get started."
He is the son of Wesley Walker, a long-time NFL wide receiver.
Princeton returns all three starters at close defense, both goalies who started games a year ago, its top two longstick midfielders and three of the top five shortstick defensive midfielders.