Walker hired at Blue Hawks track and field coach
Nick Walker hoped to be coaching at his alma mater, Dickinson State, ever since he graduated there more than a decade ago.As he found out Thursday, those hopes are now realities.Walker was officially hired to be DSU's next men's and women's indoo...
Nick Walker hoped to be coaching at his alma mater, Dickinson State, ever since he graduated there more than a decade ago.
As he found out Thursday, those hopes are now realities.
Walker was officially hired to be DSU’s next men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field head coach on Thursday. This hire follows his hiring to be a DSU assistant football coach and intramural coordinator.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Walker said, “and I’m really excited to work with our current athletes and work on the foundation of a very storied program that has a lot success.”
The hire also follows the resignation of Chris Creal, who was the North Star Athletic Association’s indoor and outdoor men’s coach of the year and helped 12 athletes to the NAIA indoor or outdoor national meets in 2016.
In his resignation letter, Creal, who was hired last August, thanked DSU athletic director Tim Daniel for the opportunity and wished the best for DSU and that he would “look forward to seeing Blue Hawks Athletics continue their path of success.”
“It has been a pleasure working for Dickinson State University as well as the athletic department within this institution,” Creal wrote in the letter. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of (a) highly competitive athletic department as well as a successful track and field program. But after much thought and consideration, I realize it is best for me to take this time to venture on to other opportunities.”
Daniel said those at DSU also wish Creal well and hopes that Walker can build on the success that Creal had.
“They're a great group of kids,” Walker said. “They’re hard working, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
After graduating from DSU with a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 2004, Walker taught physical education at Harlowton (Mont.) and then taught the same subject at Bowman County until 2008. Walker was the Bulldogs’ head boys and girls track and field coach and led the team to a state title.
Most recently, Walker taught physical education and coached at Bismarck Century and was the head track and field coach where he helped Century win five state championships and was named coach of the year five times.
“Nick just has unbelievable energy and passion for being around young student-athletes and coaching,” Daniel said. “You see the success he’s had in his time coaching Century High. He’s just had an unbelievable run there. It’s a tribute to his passion and dedication for the sport.”
As soon as Creal turned in his resignation letter, Daniel had to begin thinking of a replacement and couldn’t think of someone better than the coach they had just hired for football.
“It made perfect sense to put Nick in this position, not only for his past success with student-athletes and passion, it’s the best decision that we would have to have the person right here,” Daniel said. “When Chris decided he wanted to resign, we asked (Walker) if this was something he was interested in and his answer was, ‘Absolutely.’”
Daniel said he was impressed with Walker’s track record within the state and that Walker would be a help in recruitment.
“He has a great rapport with a number of athletes that he’s had not only in Bismarck but in the state of North Dakota and a plethora of coaches in the state of North Dakota,” Daniel said. “He’s going to be a big help with us in recruiting. He has a great rapport with students and coaches in the state, but he also has a great connection with people in Montana, so we know he’s going to do great job with that.”
Walker said one of his main goals from the beginning is to establish positive relationships with the student-athletes. He added that although some of the training styles are different, he believes relating to high school student-athletes is nearly the same challenge.
He wants to be disciplined - which Walker said is a key for any successful track and field program - but he also wants to be compassionate.
“I think for both the men and the women we have outstanding student-athletes,” Walker said. “We’ll get works outs in the fall and summer to help us be successful. I think we have a very good nucleus in our program right now.”
Walker has an infectious personality, Daniel said, which will only further benefit DSU as its new track and field head coach.
“He’s just a tireless worker and spends a lot of time at whatever he’s doing,” Daniel said. “He gives 110 percent. We know all of our student-athletes are going to be in good hands with this decision. That's why we're so excited for it.”