ABILENE – John Walker Thursday agreed to become Abilene Chrisitan University’s director of tennis for the 2019-20 season. In this position, Walker will oversee the Wildcat men’s and women’s teams.
Walker’s new role follows an announcement by the university that Hutton Jones will no longer serve as the men’s head tennis coach.
“With our student-athletes returning to campus in a matter of days, my objective is to provide as much familiarity and stability as possible,” said athletics director Allen Ward, “and having John serve in this role will hopefully provide a sense of reassurance and consistency for the teams as they defend their conference championships.”
Walker was named head coach of ACU’s women’s team in June 2018 after assisting Jones with the men and women for 15 seasons between 2004 and 2018. During this time the Wildcats posted an overall program record of 643-251 (.719), with the women’s team responsible for 355 of those victories. This remarkable era of ACU tennis also included 17 trips to the NCAA Division II Championship tournament, 22 student-athletes selected All-America and close to a dozen named conference players of the year.
Walker went on to post an overall record of 15-10 in his first year as head coach of the women’s team, with 10 of those victories coming against the Southland Conference (10-1). The Wildcats’ .909 winning percentage in league play was their best since going 7-0 vs. the Lone Star Conference in 2011, and resulted in Walker being voted the league’s Head Coach of the Year.
Three of Walker’s players received conference postseason honors. Freshman Allison Stewart and sophomore Illeana Mocciola each attained first-team honors at the No. 5 and 6 positions, respectively, while senior Jordan Henry received honorable mention for her performances on the No. 4 line.
Henry and Mocciola also made the conference’s All-Academic list, and the team’s 3.89 CGPA was the highest among all 15 Wildcat teams. The ITA tabbed ACU as an All-Academic Team with Scholar-Athlete honors going to all seven of the team’s letter winners.
“I thank coach Jones for his years of service to ACU and the tennis program,” said Ward. “It was an honor to witness and celebrate the 2019 championship with him and the Wildcats. His team was successful on the court and in the classroom this past season.”
No further comment will be issued from the university or athletics program, as is ACU’s practice with personnel-related matters.
An assistant director for Walker will be identified as soon as possible.