NASHVILLE --- A coaching veteran with experience at the Division I and junior college levels, Ben Walker is the newest addition to the Tennessee State men’s basketball staff, Head Coach Brian “Penny” Collins announced on Friday. Making his way to Nashville from South Dakota State University, Walker will serve as an assistant coach on Collins’ first staff at TSU.
“Coach Walker brings a wealth of experience to the Big Blue,” Collins said. “Coming here from South Dakota State where he helped the Jackrabbits to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, is exactly the winning attitude we need. His energy and personality are very infectious and he will fit perfect here with our guys. He’s an elite recruiter and has built many great relationships in many regions we want to recruit from. He is also a great father and husband. We are excited to add Ben and his family to our family here in Nashville.”
In his two seasons at South Dakota State, Walker helped guide the Jackrabbits to back-to-back Summit League Tournament Championships, resulting in two NCAA Tournament berths. SDSU also won the 2017-18 Summit League Regular Season Championship.
“I am excited to continue my coaching journey at TSU,” Walker said. “I look forward to working with the coaching staff to help propel our men’s basketball program to reach new heights and set new precedents. We have a great group of guys here. I am eager to work on developing them to be the best players on the court and the most well-rounded people in life that they can be.”
South Dakota State posted a 46-24 record over the last two seasons as Walker worked closely with the development of two-time Summit League Player of the Year and Associated Press All-American Mike Daum.
Prior to his time at South Dakota State, Walker served as an assistant coach at Jackson State during the 2015-16 season, a year in which the Tigers went 20-16 and qualified for the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Walker previously coached at the junior college level, winning conference titles and making national tournament appearances at both Des Moines Area Community College (Iowa) and Butler Community College (Kan.).
As a standout player for Creighton (1997-01), Walker’s teams reached the postseason every year and put together an 87-37 record in his four seasons. A four-year starter who appeared in 124 games for the Bluejays, Walker ranks in the top 10 in Creighton history for steals and rebounds. Walker earned Missouri Valley All-Defensive Team honors and helped the Bluejays reach the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and three straight NCAA Tournaments. He was inducted into the Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.
He went on to play professionally overseas in leagues in Qatar, Latvia, Australia and Norway. In Latvia, he was an All-Star selection and Most Valuable Player in 2005. Walker also suited up for the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Gary Steelheads of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and had tryouts with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Walker and his wife Jana have one daughter (London) and two sons (Ben Jr. and Kobe).
Walker graduated from Creighton in 2001.