Written by Chris Pendleton
BUENA VISTA, Va. — Southern Virginia University President Paul K. Sybrowsky today promoted Jason Walker to the position of head football coach.
Walker joined Southern Virginia's coaching staff on March 20, when he was named the Knights' defensive coordinator. Walker's promotion to head coach follows this weekend's announcement that recently hired head coach Tyler Hughes accepted an offer to become the next head coach at NCAA Division II Minot State University.
"We are thrilled to have Coach Walker leading our football program," said Sybrowsky. "During his time here, Jason has proven himself a great defensive mind and an exceptional leader. He is committed to the university and our goal to build an elite NCAA Division III football program dedicated to high academic standards and our LDS values."
Walker comes to Southern Virginia after serving as a defensive graduate assistant the past four seasons at Brigham Young University, where he learned defensive schemes from head coach Bronco Mendenhall and some of the nation's top defensive assistants.
"Jason Walker is a diligent worker, a quick study and passionate about football and building young men," said Mendenhall, whose Cougar defense has consistently ranked in the Top 25 for various defensive categories in NCAA Division I FBS football since his arrival at BYU in 2005. "I believe this is a great choice by Southern Virginia as it seeks to expand and improve its reputation through football."
At BYU, Walker's primary responsibilities included preparing scouting reports, tagging film, and assisting the coaching staff in practice and recruiting. During the 2012 season, Walker oversaw the kickoff return unit that finished 30th in the nation in total return yards.
Prior to BYU, Walker served as the defensive coordinator and special teams coach at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, and had previous experience coaching the defensive secondary and special teams at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, Utah.
"Coach Walker has displayed excellent leadership skills both prior to being hired as our defensive coordinator and over this past month during spring camp," said Southern Virginia Director of Athletics Jason Lamb. "He has a winning attitude that his team will feed on. Coach Walker has tremendous potential to do great things with the program and we're excited to see what the team can accomplish under his leadership."
Before his coaching career began, Walker played collegiate football for two seasons at Snow College followed by two seasons at Utah State University. While playing safety for Utah State, Walker was recognized as one of the Aggies' strongest pound-for-pound players. Changes in Utah State's coaching staff following Walker's junior season allowed him to learn and play under two different defensive schemes during his time as an Aggie.
Walker and his wife, Jen, have four children: daughter Brighton (9), son Rex (7), daughter Ivory (4) and son Gabriel (2). Jason served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ivory Coast, Abidjan mission from 1998-00.
He received a bachelor's degree in business from Utah State and is currently pursuing a master's degree in public administration from BYU.
"I am thrilled to have this opportunity and am ready to make the most of it," Walker said. "I want to thank President Sybrowsky, Vice President Brett Garcia, Director of Athletics Jason Lamb and the university administration for trusting me with this tremendous responsibility. I also want to thank Bronco Mendenhall and the football staff at BYU for the opportunities for growth they offered me in this profession. I'm grateful for my family and the support they have always provided.
"During the course of spring camp the past few weeks I have seen how hard the boys work and I am excited to be their leader," Walker continued. "Becoming a head coach has always been a dream of mine and I feel prepared to help these young men be successful on and off the field."