JARED ANGLE / THE EAGLE
AU President Neil Kerwin announced Feb. 28 that William “Billy” Walker would become the 14th director of athletics and recreation.
Walker will succeed Keith Gill, who left in December to become the athletic director at the University of Richmond.
“I am tremendously humbled to be standing here today,” Walker said at a press conference in Bender Arena. “It is quite an honor.”
Prior to coming to AU, Walker served as deputy athletic director at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
In choosing Walker, Kerwin believes the school has found a leader who can lead a “strong department.”
Vice President of Campus Life and chair of the athletic director search committee Gail Hanson expressed excitement over Walker’s balanced experience in both athletics and recreation.
Walker said he was looking forward to joining a school with the high academic and athletic profile of AU.
“I don’t see a huge hurdle in transitioning from Air Force to here,” Walker said. “The biggest focus is that both schools are high-end academic schools. We want to make sure that our athletes are doing their jobs as students.”
Walker did not mention any specific changes he plans on instituting when he takes over the job.
“I can’t wait to get out today and start to get some practices and meet some student athletes,” Walker said.
Walker emphasized that as athletic director he will reach out to the entire AU community of students, alumni and the D.C. community.
“The Eagle family is going to work hard, but we will enjoy it,” Walker said. “After all, I believe having fun is serious business.”
As deputy director of athletics for the Falcons, Walker handled day-to-day responsibilities of the Air Force Academy’s 23 Division I teams as well as developing programs for physical education and cadet fitness. Walker also served as an assistant wrestling coach.
Walker has served as chair of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee and as member of the Division I Hockey Committee.
President George W. Bush appointed Walker in 2001 as the first permanent professor of athletics.
As a helicopter pilot in the Air Force, Walker logged over 3,000 hours of flight time. He was the deputy commander of the 89th Operations group, which is responsible for directing safe transport of the president and other officials.
The exact date which Walker will begin as athletic director is still being decided, according to AU Athletics.