November 29, 2016
After 31 years at EvCC, Larry Walker has decided to retire as Athletic Director and hand over his Head Coaching position of the men’s basketball team. Walker was instrumental in bringing back baseball, volleyball and cross country to EvCC.
Bringing back those three sports was huge for EvCC with cross country always being one of the top teams in NWAC. Baseball has defined success in the athletic program since returning to EvCC, while winning one NWAC championship and constantly being a threat to win every season.
In his second year of tenure, Coach Walker became the athletic coordinator in 1986. Fifteen years later in 2001, the school decided to give Walker the athletic director position which was the same as being the athletic coordinator, just with a different title.
Walker made his decision in the summer and felt that Mike Trautman, the new head coach of the men’s basketball team, needed a chance to coach EvCC. However, this was not the real reason why Walker retired. Walker is a family man first and said “I think the deciding factor for me was that I would be out supervising a soccer game for the college and missing my grandson’s birthday party. Missing my grandson’s basketball game and the other seven grandkids that I have.”
Another deciding factor for Walker was his retirement plan which would pay more money than working for EvCC. “My wife complained I was gone too much, now we will see what she has to say.”
Even though Walker is confident in his decision of retirement, he mentioned that it is still tough to leave EvCC. “I was in the gym the other day and for the first time in almost 30 years, I didn’t have control of the gym and that felt weird. I will miss not just the interaction with the basketball players, but the other athletes and coaches too.”
In the meantime while Walker is gone, Vice President for College Advancement John Olsen and Associate Dean for Student LIFE Jenn Rhodes will fill the role of Athletic Director until they can find a suitable replacement for Walker.
Olsen has been with EvCC for 25 years and mentioned that this isn’t the first time he has had to “pick something up on the run.” Olsen said “I am new to this and I don’t know all the details yet, but I am sure between me and Jenn, we can get the job done.”
While Olsen and Rhodes keep the operation moving, they look to find a replacement sometime by the spring according to Olsen. He said the decision could possibly be made by May, but isn’t sure since nothing is officially set in stone. Olsen also mentioned that he doesn’t know if he will even be apart of the selection committee.
The departure of Walker is huge for EvCC because he has kept the athletics department afloat for so many years. Change is tough when a person like Walker has been so consistent for 31 years. However, the job will still be carried on by someone else and the departure of Walker marks the end of an era in the athletics program for EvCC.
The people that spent the most time with Walker knew what kind of job he did as Athletic Director, but all the people mentioned he was a better person. Walker cared more about the success of his athletes in life rather than the success in any athletic event. Walker said that his motto is “You can find the good in almost any human being on earth if you take the time to find it.”