It took just three seasons for Head Coach James Walker to do what no other Duquesne women's soccer coach has done ... post double-digit wins and advance to the six-team Atlantic 10 Championship. Now in his fourth year, Coach Walker has clearly raised the bar for the Dukes' program taking over a program that ended the 2002 campaign 5-13-1 and tied for the bottom rung of the A-10 ladder (1-9-1) to one that has posted the most wins in school history and became regionally ranked (Soccer Buzz). His enthusiasm, dedication and passion for both success and the game are the keys to making the Dukes a consistent contender in the Atlantic 10 and nationally.
Last season, he guided the Dukes to the program's first double figure-win mark boasting a 10-6-1 overall record. Duquesne finished 5-4-0 in the Atlantic 10 putting them in a four-way for fifth in the A-10 and received the A-10 Championship berth by virtue of tie-breaking rules. DU posted a near perfect mark at home going 6-1-0 on Rooney and saw four players earn All-Conference accolades in Emily Sedgwick (first team), Audra Mathews (second team), Erica Carey (honorable mention) and Shannon Rengers (rookie). Duquesne experienced another first on Oct. 3 when the Red & Blue received votes in the Soccer Buzz Magazine Mid-Atlantic Region poll. Duquesne saw its first actual ranking Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 at the No. 15 spot. In all, Duquesne was ranked or received votes in the poll for five-consecutive weeks.
The Red & Blue posted a 9-10-1 mark in 2004 while going 4-6-1 in Atlantic 10 play to finish ninth overall. The Dukes posted an impressive 6-3 record at home, falling only to league members Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's as well as Arizona, which finished the season ranked #25 nationally. The Dukes' nine wins tied the most in program history which last occurred in 1998. Walker also racked up his 100th career victory taking a 1-0 OT decision over Temple on October 22, 2004.
Over the summer of 2004, Coach Walker and assistant coach Tim Zundel got an opportunity of a lifetime making a trip to England where they had an opportunity to take an inside, behind-the-scenes look at two of the world's famous clubs - Manchester United and Arsenal FC. Coach Walker's father James, who played and coached professionally in England for over 25 years, was an integral part of setting up the trip. His father played in the English Premier League for Derby County, which captured two EPL championship crowns. He also coached in the English Premier League with Aston Villa for 15 years where he was the Director of Sports Science for the club.
In his initial campaign, he led the 2003 Dukes to an 8-10-2 record, showing improvement and promise for Duquesne in its quest to stand atop the Atlantic 10 rankings. The eight wins were the most by the Dukes' since 1998, and Duquesne posted a winning record on the road, going 5-4-1.
Hired in January 2003, Walker brought a history of success both as a head coach and player to the Dukes' program. He came to Duquesne from NAIA/Division II Tiffin University, his Alma Mater, in Ohio where he served as head women's coach from 1997 to 2002. While at Tiffin, Walker led the Dragons to four American Mideast Conference Championship crowns and to an 84-33-4 overall record. The Dragons went 45-2-1 in the AMC over his tenure. Tiffin was nationally ranked from 1998 to 2002 under his guidance and advanced to the Regional Final Four each of his six seasons. Walker also led his team to the 2000 and 2002 NAIA National Tournament quarterfinals.
A native of Birmingham, England, Walker earned a bachelor's degree in business from Tiffin in 1997 and completed his MBA in 2000. He competed as a forward for the Dragons from 1992 to 1995 and twice earned NSCAA All-America honors (1994, 1995). Walker helped Tiffin capture the 1992 and 1995 AMC titles.
After graduation, Walker played professionally for the Kalamazoo Kingdom of the USISL from 1996 to 1997 and was a member of the Cleveland Caps in 1998. He was also the assistant men's soccer coach at Tiffin for two seasons and took over the women's helm in 1997. Walker was a head coach for the Ohio North ODP squad in 2001 and 2002 and served as the head coach for PA West ODP in 2003.
The three-time America Mideast Coach of the Year was runner-up for the 2000 BRINE National Coach of the Year award. Walker was also tabbed a three-time Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association Coach of the Year. Before coming to the United State, Walker played with the Youth Team for the EPL's Aston Villa.
The 33-year old Walker holds an English Prelim Coaching License.
He and his wife, the former Kerri Destatte, reside in Glen Shaw, Pa., and have one daughter, Emma Grace, born Sept. 30, 2003.