ATHENS — On Monday morning, Concord University named one of the most successful head coaches in West Virginia high school history, former Martinsburg High School mentor Dave Walker, as its 20th head football coach in the school history.
CU Athletic Director Kevin Garrett, in his introduction, thanked the selection committee for its patience and for conducting the coaching search with due diligence in selecting a successor to Paul Price, who resigned in November, following a 1-10 season.
“This is a great day and I’m very excited. Today is a new beginning for Concord football,” Garrett said.,
Walker won 304 games in 32 years of high school coaching at East Hardy and Martinsburg high schools, rebuilding the former from a team that had won only seven games
In nine years before his arrival to a team which made the post season seven straight years. Taking over Martinsburg in 1997, he built the program into one which won 248 games in 22 seasons, including 56 straight currently, and victories in eight of 12 AAA state championship games since 2001. His 53 playoff wins are a state record.
“I’m excited for the new challenge. Martinsburg High School will always be special for me so it’s a wonderful but sad experience at the same time. It was a time that I thought that I needed to explore .I’ve been interested in coming to Concord University for a number of year. We have a lot of work to be done,” he said
Asked why he came back to the region he was from (he is a native of Wyoming County and a graduate of Pineville High School),Walker answered, “I need to do something different. I’d accomplished everything that I could as a high school football coach and I needed a new challenge. I think it’s a great new opportunity.”
He said his priorities were to get a staff together, evaluating the existing staff and players and catching up on recruiting.
“To win, you have to change the culture and to change the culture you have to win. It’s a chicken and egg thing. We want a family atmosphere, which we have here. We want to get the best state athletes who don’t sigh Division I letters of intent here,” he said.
Walker concluded, “I’m very excited to be here and I’ll have an open door policy.”
Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter at the Princeton Times. Contact him at email@example.com