Andy Walker Named EMU Head Men’s Golf Coach - Eastern Michigan University Athletics (2024)

YPSILANTI, Mich. ( — Eastern Michigan University Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee announced the hiring of Andy Walker as head coach of the men's golf program today, June 12. The announcement comes just weeks after the transformational $6.5 million commitment from GameAbove to support EMU Golf.

A four-time national champion as a player and coach, Walker arrives in Ypsilanti with an extensive head coaching resume, including stops at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Lynn University, and South Mountain Community College (SMCC). As a student-athlete, Walker helped Pepperdine University capture the 1997 NCAA National Championship before embarking on an 11-year pro playing career.

"Andy Walker's impressive professional golf experience and unwavering commitment to building meaningful player and donor relationships make him a perfect fit for Eastern Michigan University," said Wetherbee. "His results-driven approach and remarkable history of developing highly successful student-athletes both on and off the course are unparalleled. We are thrilled to welcome a four-time national champion as a player and coach, and we look forward to him inspiring our next championship golf team."

The 49-year-old Walker recently completed his third season as head coach at VCU. Under his leadership, VCU men's golf has seen a dramatic rise in performance and reputation. Walker inherited a team ranked No. 187 in the nation and transformed them into a top-40 powerhouse within just two and a half seasons. His recruiting, player development, and exceptional coaching have resulted in four of the six lowest-scoring team rounds in the program's history occurring during his tenure.

Walker's ability to cultivate talent is evident in the accolades earned by his players, including seven different Atlantic 10 Conference selections, two A10 Rookies of the Year, one A10 Player of the Year, and four Academic All-Americans.

"I'd like to thank Scott Wetherbee, Dan McLean, and GameAbove for this great opportunity," Walker added. "Life is about opportunity and taking advantage when opportunity arises. Eastern Golf is in the midst of a transformation that not too many programs around the country have the benefit of being apart of. EMU and GameAbove are giving the student athletes and our coaching staff the chance to have the best resources not only in the MAC, but the entire NCAA. I'm honored to be chosen to lead the Eagles and can't wait to start on our shared quest of winning a National Championship."

GameAbove's latest commitment to Eastern Michigan was announced May 28, reflects the belief in the potential of the men's and women's golf programs to achieve greatness. This brings GameAbove's total support for EMU Golf to over $14.5 million, marking the greatest level of support from a single donor to one sport in the University's history. GameAbove is a successful multifaceted brand consisting of charitable giving, capital investments, sports entertainment, and media ventures.

The 2023-24 season was a landmark year for the Rams. The team dominated the Atlantic 10 Championship, winning by an astonishing 25 shots, and produced individual co-champions from VCU. The team's performance earned them a berth to the NCAA Regionals, where they were seeded No. 7. At the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, VCU shot the lowest single-round total in school history with a final round of 267. This exceptional performance led to Walker being named the 2024 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year for the third consecutive time. The season was marked by consistent excellence, with the team participating in 11 events, securing three wins, seven top-three finishes, and 11 top-five showings. VCU ended the season with the third-best winning percentage in NCAA Division I golf (136-27-3).

Under Walker's guidance, individual accolades included the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, with three players being named to the A10 All-Conference team. Walker's strategic vision and recruitment acumen continued to shine as he attracted top talent, propelling the team to a national ranking of No. 38, a significant leap from their No. 187 ranking when he started.

Walker's second season saw further success and growth for the VCU men's golf team. The team continued to excel, winning the VCU Shootout with an impressive score of 35-under par. The year was highlighted by Walker's selection as the coach for Team USA at the Toyota Junior World Cup of Golf in Japan. By the end of the 2023-24 season, the team had achieved seven top-three finishes, including winning three events.

Walker's excellent recruiting brought in top talent, including the Virginia Player of the Year and the number one amateurs from three countries. His second Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year award further recognized his coaching prowess.

The Phoenix, Ariz. native took the helm of the VCU men's golf team in 2021. His impact was immediate and profound. In his first season, Walker guided the team to a runner-up finish in the Atlantic 10 Championship, demonstrating a quick turnaround in performance. Under his tutelage, the Rams secured five top-three finishes throughout the season. His efforts were recognized as he was named the 2022 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and the Black College Golf Coaches Association Awards (BCCGA) National Coach of the Year. He also coached Adrian Vagberg to an Atlantic 10 individual title. He later placed sixth at the NCAA New Haven Regional to advance to the NCAA Championships – the first VCU individual to do so since 2003.

Walker joined the Rams following a three-year tenure at Division II Lynn University, where he produced an NCAA National Championship in his first season (2019). That squad captured five tournament titles, tying for the second-most for a single season in Lynn history and the most for a first-year coach.

Under his tutelage, four student-athletes were honored as All-Americans, and two newcomers also garnered Freshman All-America recognition. Additionally, Toto Gana became the first men's golfer in school history and fourth overall to be named the Sunshine State Conference Male Athlete of the Year.

Walker relocated to Boca Raton from Phoenix, Ariz., where he served as head men's golf coach at South Mountain Community College (SMCC) from 2013-18 and as a senior staff instructor and director of player development at the Golf Channel Academy.

Walker led the SMCC Cougars to back-to-back National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Championships in 2015 and 2016. The Cougars also held the No. 1 national ranking for 155 out of 156 weeks, beginning in the summer of 2013. Walker's most decorated recruiting class claimed three Region I Championships, four Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Championships, and 31 tournament victories. Walker has coached two Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Phil Mickelson National Freshman of the Year honorees and three GCAA Arnold Palmer National Champions. His student-athletes have collected a combined 25 All-American selections and 30 All-ACCAC accolades. Off the course, SMCC was named the 2018 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year with a 3.81 GPA.

At the Golf Channel Academy, Walker trained junior to professional-level golfers to build physical and mental skills that translate into improvements during competition. Walker's clients include professional golfers from the PGA, LPGA and European Tours, and notable NFL and MLB stars.

Walker's success earned him a Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Dave Williams National Coach of the Year accolade in 2019, two nods as the NJCAA National Coach of the Year, five Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Coach of the Year awards and a GCAA West Region Coach of the Year honor.

Walker also has been featured as a television and radio personality in multiple capacities since 2010. He was a contestant on the Golf Channel's reality show "Big Break Ireland" while co-hosting the NBC Sports Radio Show "For the Love of the Game".

Before joining the coaching ranks, Walker spent 11 years playing professionally on various domestic and international tours. He played in over 375 professional tournaments, garnering 28 professional victories and 70 top-10 finishes. Walker ranked as high as No. 272 among Americans on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and was the second-highest African American in the world on the OWGR, behind only Tiger Woods.

Walker first tasted national collegiate success as a student-athlete, winning the 1997 NCAA National Championship at Pepperdine University. During his three years as a Pepperdine Wave, Walker was a two-time All-West Coast Conference selection and the 1997 WCC Individual Champion.

He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and was inducted into the Pepperdine Sports Hall of Fame.

He is also K-Vest Level II, Trackman, and Flightscope certified and holds memberships with the Golf Channel Academy and GCAA.

EMU recently opened the GameAbove Golf Performance Center at Eagle Crest Golf Course, Jan. 16, 2024. The two-story facility, perched elegantly overlooking the 18th green and Ford Lake, was made possible through an $8 million gift from GameAbove. The facility is a testament to EMU and GameAbove's commitment to excellence in collegiate golf. This state-of-the-art training complex, spanning 13,000 square feet, is designed to propel the Eastern men's and women's golf teams to new heights of success. The facility provides an unparalleled training environment for all game elements with lockerrooms, meeting spaces, indoor putting and chipping areas, and cutting-edge simulators.

The building features a dedicated practice range, spanning 6,619 square feet, which allows student-athletes to hone their skills with targeted training sessions. A specialized area covering 5,383 square feet has been designated for chipping and putting, ensuring that every aspect of the game is meticulously addressed in the training regimen. Additionally, including two TrackMan 4 Simulators, totaling 1,974 square feet, adds a cutting-edge dimension to the training experience. These simulators bring the outdoor game indoors, allowing precision training regardless of external conditions.

Eagle Crest Golf Club, home to the EMU women's golf team, has been ranked No. 9 in the Top 25 College Golf Courses by Golf Pass Golfers' Choice 2024. This achievement signifies the facility's commitment to excellence and dedication to providing the total golf experience to students and the public. Being ranked No. 9 in Golfers' Choice 2024 is a momentous honor for Eagle Crest Golf Club. The University's steady rank climb, moving from No. 25 to No. 13 and now securing a spot in the top 10, reflects its commitment to excellence.

Andy Walker Named EMU Head Men’s Golf Coach - Eastern Michigan University Athletics (2024)


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