D2 NEWS: Walker named Head WBB Coach at Newberry College

Newberry College Athletics announced Johnette Walker as its new women’s basketball head coach.
The South Carolina native comes to Wolf Nation after five successful seasons as an assistant coach at Francis Marion University. She has also assisted at Chowan University and USC Upstate and enjoyed careers as a standout student-athlete at Radford University and a professional player in Germany.
“Coach Walker brings an impressive background and leadership style that will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes,” said Newberry College Athletics Director Sean Johnson. “I want to thank our search committee and our women’s basketball student-athletes who were extremely invested in our process to find the person to lead our program.”
“I am excited about Coach Walker joining Wolf Nation,” said Newberry College Hall of Famer, professor, and search committee member Dr. Peggy Winder. “I’m looking forward to all she has to offer our women’s basketball program.”
During the last two seasons, Francis Marion posted a combined 40-15 mark, recording back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2008-09 and, 2009-10. The Patriots also had a combined 33-5 record in Conference Carolinas the past two years.
“First, I want to give God the glory because with Him all things are possible,” said Walker.  “I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Everybody I spoke with and had a chance to interact with, I immediately felt a great connection. I am looking forward to teaching, coaching, molding, and shaping the student-athletes here at Newberry College.
“I want my passion and energy to ignite a fire within this program. I will empower my players. The more empowered an athlete feels, the more motivated they are to keep putting in the effort consistently over time, and with consistency comes success. My vision for this program is for us to operate in excellence. That excellence must exist on the court, in the classroom and in our community,” she added.
“We had a competitive pool of candidates,” said Newberry College Senior Woman Administrator and search committee chair Hunter Perry. “Johnette rose to the top due to her commitment to building relationships with student-athletes, her great recruiting experience, and her competitiveness as a coach. I’m excited to welcome Johnette to campus!”
“Johnette is an extremely talented coach,” said search committee member and professor Dr. John Lesaine. “She is very familiar with our region and has a knack for recruiting outstanding student-athletes.”
Walker was a standout player at Radford University for head coach Jeri Porter, for whom she also served as an assistant at Francis Marion.
“I’ve known her since she was 18 years old,” said Porter. “She makes people better. For her it is all about relationships. Johnette is very dedicated and thorough. As a recruiter, she has a good working knowledge of the state and the region. She is as good as any assistant in the state. Johnette is very prepared and extremely deserving of this opportunity. She will be greatly missed but we know that Newberry is the right opportunity at the right time, and we wish her all the best!”
Walker helped lead the Highlanders to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament with a 23-12 record in 2007-08. During her career she scored 1,000 points and led the Big South in steals and assists, was a second team all-conference pick, earned Big South All-Freshmen and All-Tournament recognition, and was also named to the Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll.
As a point guard, she set the school record, which she still owns, for most free throws made in a season with 152, and she is still tied for the second most steals (106) and third most assists in a season (162). She is the only player in Radford history to post top-three single season marks in those three categories.
Walker is still ranked ninth in career points with 1,238, the school record holder in career free throws made (451) and attempted (589), and second in career assists (498) and steals (348).
She was named Big South Player of the Week four times during her career and led the Highlanders to consecutive 20-win seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08, with a combined mark of 43-23. Radford appeared in the Big South tournament championship game both years, and it marked the first time the Highlanders had posted consecutive 20-win seasons since the 1988-89, 1989-90 seasons.
After her collegiate playing career, Walker played six seasons of professional basketball in Germany. During five of those seasons, she averaged more than 15 points and six rebounds per game.
A graduate of Irmo High School, Walker was an All-Area performer and played in the North/South All-Star game. A four-year starter for the Yellow Jackets, she led the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals as a senior in 2003-04. She was also an All-Region and All-Area performer in volleyball during her prep career.


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