COMMERCE, Texas–Texas A&M University-Commerce head men’s basketball coach Sam Walker sits on the verge of a pair of impressive coaching milestone as the Lions head into a three-game road trip to close out the 2012 calendar season.
Walker, who is in his 13th season at the helm of the Lion basketball program and his 21st with the university, has compiled a 199-150 career record, needing just one more win to reach the 200-win plateau. In addition, Walker is just three victories shy of surpassing Jim Gudger as the all-time winningest coach in A&M-Commerce program history. Gudger posted a 201-190 record for the Lions from 1969-1983 and was inducted into the A&M-Commerce Hall of Fame in 1992.
Heading into the 2012-13 season, Walker had compiled an overall coaching record of 192-148, which includes a Lone Star Conference championship as well as an NCAA Regional Finals appearance in 2004-05. The Lions are 7-2 through the first nine games of 2012-13, including a 2-0 mark in LSC play with wins over Abilene Christian and Angelo State.
Under Walker’s tutelage, 32 players have been recognized as All-Lone Star Conference selections, including nine first team honorees. He has coached a Lone Star Conference Player of the Year (Jemart Miller in 2004-05), four LSC Newcomers of the Year, two LSC Freshmen of the Year and a Daktronics Third Team All-American (Scooby Johnson in 2007-08).
Walker has also ensured the Lions have excelled in the classroom as well. During the 2011-12 season, the Lions notched an impressive feat as Desmond King (first team) and Andrew Davis (third team) were both named Capital One Academic All-Americans, making A&M-Commerce the only program in the country at the Division I, II or III level to have a pair of Academic All-Americans. In addition, Davis was named the Lone Star Conference Men's Basketball Academic Player of the Year.
A 1991 graduate of Sam Houston State University, Walker first came to Commerce as an assistant coach under former head coach and Hall of Famer Paul Peak. Working alongside Peak, the Lions won the 1996 Lone Star Conference Championship, the 1998 South Division Championship and made three consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearances in 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98. During the 1997 tournament, the Lions were the NCAA South Central Regional Champions, advancing to the Elite Eight.
A&M-Commerce’s postseason success has continued under Walker as the Lions have reached the Lone Star Conference tournament in 10 of Walker’s 12 seasons, including eight consecutive years – the longest current streak in the conference.
Walker’s Lions travel to Dallas Baptist this Saturday to open up the three-game road trip. A&M-Commerce then visits Ouachita Baptist on Tuesday, December 18th followed by a game at Southern Arkansas on Wednesday, December 19th. The Lions’ next home game will be on Wednesday, January 2nd facing Lone Star Conference opponent Incarnate Word. Follow us on twitter at @Lion_Athletics and stay tuned with us live for stats, video, and radio available at LionAthletics.com.