UNA athletic director Mark Linder made the official announcement on Thursday. “Chris is a person of outstanding character and is an outstanding coach,” said Linder in a press release. “He has recruited internationally and domestically in expanded regions from our current footprint and we feel he can lead our program to continued success.”
Walker, who was an all-conference performer for the Lee men’s soccer team, replaces Graham Winkworth, who posted a 111-88-8 record with the Lions over the last 10 years and led UNA to four consecutive NCAA Division II Regional Tournaments from 2009-12. Winkworth resigned his position in December to become the head coach at the University of South Alabama.
"I want to thank (Lee) head coach Matt Yelton for giving me the opportunity to work with him for the past three seasons,” Walker said. “I have truly enjoyed my time here as a member of the Lee coaching staff. I was provided with many opportunities that not every assistant coach gets, and I am grateful for all of the experience that I have gained."
Over the last three seasons, Lee has had the best women’s soccer program in the history of the NAIA, winning three Southern States Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles and back-to-back national championships (2010-11). All totaled, Walker was a part of two of the four teams that claimed a NAIA record of four straight national crowns. Lee currently holds the highest winning percentage in NAIA national tournament play.
Said Walker: "Working with coach Yelton and all of the girls on the team has been fantastic. I would like to wish them all the best in the future. I would also like to thank athletic director Larry Carpenter and the entire support staff at Lee. Their hard work is one of the main reasons why all of the athletics teams at Lee are so competitive. I will miss everyone at Lee but look forward to moving on to a new challenge at UNA."
Yelton praised Walker’s valuable work as his head assistant. "As much as I hate to lose Chris, I am very happy that he has gotten the opportunity to move into a head coaching position. Chris was an outstanding part of our program over the last three years and was an amazing asset to have in our program. However, as good a coach and assistant as Chris was, he was an even better friend to everyone he worked with and I wish him all the best."
Walker is married to former Lee soccer player Tiffany Cox Walker.