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After 25 years, Walker retires from basketball
ARLINGTON — Arlington sports will be without one of its institutions next year.
With the conclusion of the Post Middle School basketball season — the Falcon eighth-graders had a 7-1 season this year — coach Andy Walker hung up his whistle for the last time.
After 25 seasons of coaching 12- and 13-year-old boys, Walker has left his impact on Arlington basketball. His former students can be found all over town. Recent alumni like Eric Carlson and Calvin Wold play on the varsity basketball team at Arlington and Highland Christian schools. Others, from Walker’s earlier classes, can be found on the sidelines coaching or cheering on their sons and daughters.
Jason Klein is former student of Walker’s; he now coaches a number of Walker’s students as the freshman coach at Arlington. Colton Hordyk, on Klein’s team, is a second-generation Walker athlete. His father, Doug, played for Post Middle School when he was a youngster.
“He was the consummate basketball coach for middle school kids,” said Highland Christian basketball coach Guy Kennedy, who is involved in the Arlington AAU basketball program and whose son Brandon played on this year’s squad. “He was like your stern grandfather.”
Walker, no relation to the Marysville Middle School teacher and basketball player Darrell Walker, leaves a legacy of hard work and discipline to his fellow coaches and former students.
Highland Christian sophomore Calvin Wold said he remembers structured, early practices starting at 6 a.m.
“Great guy, really strict,” Wold said. “I still remember his warm-ups — strict routine, too.”
Arlington basketball has evolved since Walker started coaching 25 years ago. Along the way, another middle school came to town and basketball became a no-cut sport, allowing more kids to play competitive basketball in Arlington. And AAU basketball came along, bringing a higher caliber of play with it.
A former high school basketball player and cross country athlete, Walker found coaching basketball a natural fit when he came to Post Middle School to teach physical education.
“I played a lot of sports, but when I got into teaching, it just went in that direction. I started out coaching basketball when I was very young in my profession,” he said, adding that he’ll stay on as a teacher and will coach cross country beginning next fall. “I would miss out too much if I wasn’t coaching, because the relationship you develop with players is different from students. You get a different relationship with students that you coach.”
Walker’s two daughters played year-round soccer as they came through Post Middle School and the Arlington school district. Now a grandfather, Walker hopes to become more involved his grandkids’ lives. He credited his wife Kathy for the sacrifices she made as he pursued his love of coaching.
As a coach, Walker accumulated a 134-82 record with no ties.
“You can go throughout the community, people that are still coming to games today, played for Andy,” said Bud Brummel, who is involved in Arlington AAU basketball and whose son Bo played for Walker a year ago. “You’re never going to find another Andy Walker, somebody who provides that quality of coaching at that age. That kind of leadership quality that comes with being there year in and year out.”