After working diligently at the same thing for 33 years, it’s not uncommon to achieve a level of mastery.
Weber State University track and field coach and director Dan Walker, the master himself, is retiring as one of Weber State’s longest tenured track and field coaches.
Hailing from Ogden and attending Ben Lomond High School, Walker spent time with Weber State and the track and field team as a student-athlete before becoming a coach. Walker was coached by Weber State legend Charles “Chick” Hislop in high school and college, before joining his staff and coaching alongside him.
“My favorite thing about Weber State is just the people you get to deal with every day,” Walker said. “Everyone wants to help the students, and everyone wants you to succeed, whether that be a custodian, a maintenance person or a person in the Student Services building. Everyone you deal with wants to help students, and that has been great.”
In his time coaching at Weber State, he has helped the team achieve 41 Big Sky Conference Championships in both men’s and women’s track and field, as well as cross-country.
While Walker coached and recruited hundreds of athletes, he also coached and developed 15 All-Americans and three champions within the NCAA.
When asked about the most rewarding part about coaching young athletes, Walker quoted the process of watching each athlete “grow up.”
“It’s fun to watch kids get more worldly, to understand how to get along with other people, as well as watching them give maximum effort not only in track and field but also in the classroom,” Walker said. “It’s almost like a complete metamorphosis.”
Former Weber State athlete and current record-holder Kellie Clinger, who was coached by Walker, spoke of his ability to broaden her horizons.
While originally recruited to Weber State as a high-jump athlete, Clinger’s true potential was apparent to Walker, and he coached her to become the all-time record holder in the 400 meter dash, posting a time of 53.93 seconds in 2002.
For any aspiring track and field athlete who may have missed the chance to be coached by such a man, Walker left a few sage words of wisdom for all: Be self-sufficient and stay motivated.
“I think it is very important that (athletes) are self-starters and self-motivators,” Walker said. “So much of track is done when nobody is around to watch, and it’s so different from any other sport. You have to do things correctly when nobody is watching.”
In speaking on what the future holds for him, Walker stated he would love to continue coaching at the collegiate level if the opportunity presented itself.
Ironically enough, rather than doing the recruiting, he may be recruited now that he has opened himself to the coaching market.
In speaking about what is next for her former coach, Clinger is confident that whatever his next step is will be exhilarating.
“Who knows? But I am sure whatever it is, it will be exciting and fun,” Clinger said. “I’ve never known Coach Walker to not be involved in something, or trying to improve upon whatever he is involved with. He is always going to make it better.”