MHERST, Mass. -- University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Steve Lappas announced today that assistant coach Christopher Walker has resigned his position to pursue a career in private business. Walker was an original member of Lappas' Minuteman staff, having come to Amherst with Lappas from Villanova in the spring of 2001.
"I've known Chris a long time, having recruited him to Villanova, and I'm really going to miss him as both a colleague and more importantly as a friend," Lappas said. " He has done a tremendous job the past two years in helping build a solid foundation for this program. But, Chris came to a point in his life where he wanted to pursue a career outside college basketball, and I wish him the best with that."
Walker, an 11-year Division I coaching veteran, spent the 2000-2001 season as an assistant coach for Lappas at Villanova, and prior to that was the associate head coach at both Pepperdine (1999-2000) and Vanderbilt (1996-1999). He began his coaching career at Loyola Marymount in 1992, where he worked until moving to Vanderbilt.
A two-time All-Big Five selection, Walker started 96 games at point guard for the Wildcats and coach Rollie Massimino from 1988-92. He led Villanova in assists for three straight seasons and his 404 career assists rank as the 11th-best career total in school history. Walker led the Wildcats to four postseason bids (two NCAA, two NIT) during his collegiate career.
Born on Christmas Day 1969, Walker graduated from Villanova in 1992 with a B.A. degree in communications. He is a native of Houston, Texas.
niversity of Massachusetts assistant men's basketball coach Chris Walker has decided to leave coaching, opening a vacancy on coach Steve Lappas' staff.
|Chris Walker photos|
© 2001-03, UMassHoops.com
Walker was at UMass for two seasons. After a standout playing career at Villanova, Walker began his coaching career at Loyola Marymount, where he coached from 1992-96.
He coached under Jan van Breda Kolff at Vanderbilt (1996-99) and Pepperdine (1999-2000) before joining Lappas at Villanova for 2000-01. He followed Lappas to Amherst prior to the 2001-02 season.
The Minuteman coach was sad to see Walker leave.
"We're friends for a long time. He's done a great job for me," Lappas said. "It's unfortunate that he's not going to have the opportunity to be part of the fruits of his labor, getting this thing back to where it should be. When we do, he's going to have been an instrumental part of it."
Lappas said he had a replacement in mind, but didn't want to announce who.
Walker, a Houston native, actually dabbled in the music industry after his college playing career was complete.
He had a hit record ("First Time") and a hit single ("Take Time") in the early 1990s.
Walker was not available for comment.
LASME LOOKING - Former UMass guard Mike Lasme, who announced he was transferring earlier this month, has started to zero in on potential destinations.
In the running right now for his services are Seton Hall, Santa Clara, Old Dominion and Oregon. Lasme, a native of the Ivory Coast, went to high school in Burlington, N.J. He said Seton Hall's proximity to his American host parents gave the Pirates an edge.
Lasme said he plans on taking several visits.
"I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing," he said.
RUDOY ON CAMPUS - Mike Rudoy, the 6-foot-7 forward from Chicago who UMass is recruiting, was on campus Friday for an official visit.
He averaged 23 points as a senior last season at Chicago Latin High School.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com.