Entering his 11th season as men's cross country head coach and the primary distance coach for The University of Alabama men's track and field team, Joe Walker has brought the Crimson Tide distance program to national prominence with back-to-back-to-back top 10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the last three years including a program-best third-place finish in 2009 in addition to two consecutive SEC titles.
He has coached the Tide to six NCAA SouthRegion Championships in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as two runner-up finishes at the 2002 and 2006 NCAA South Region Championships. His most prolific athlete, the late David Kimani, won back-to-back-to-back Southeastern Conference cross-country championships while winning three consecutive NCAA Regional championships. Kimani won the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Championship, finished fourth at the 2000 NCAA Cross Country Championships and placed 11th at the 2002 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
"Joe is a proven coach with valuable experience as an assistant and head coach," head track and field coach Harvey Glance said. "He has developed many successful athletes. In addition, Joe is a tremendous recruiter."
Under his direction, the Alabama cross country and distance programs have grown by leaps and bounds. Since his arrival at the Capstone, he has coached four SEC Male Cross-Country Athletes of the Year, 21 SEC Champions, three NCAA Cross Country Regional Champions, three National Champions, 21 All-Americans and 37 All-South Region performers. He was named the SEC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2001, 2008 and 2009 and the 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008 and 2009NCAA South Region Cross Country Coach of the Year.
In 2007, he coached the Alabama cross-country team to the school's then best finish ever at the NCAA Championships with a sixth place finish.
Walker then added three-time JUCO National Champion and eight-time JUCO All-American Tyson David in the spring of 2008 to an already stacked distance squad. He coached David to an All-American honor that spring in the 10,000m as well as an individual SEC Championship in the indoor 5,000m and outdoor 10,000m. He would go on to repeat the indoor/outdoor feat in 2009. David is the current holder of the school and SEC record in the 10,000m. In 2009, David was also the 5,000m Mideast Region Champion and earned All-American in the indoor 5,000m and outdoor 10,000m.
In 2008, Walker coached the Alabama men's cross country team to the program's first SEC Title since 1973 and just the second conference championship ever. Walker led the team that ended Arkansas' streak of 34 straight (17 SWC, 17 SEC) conference titles. Alabama then went on to win their fifth South Region title in eight years and second straight. The Crimson Tide finished the season with a 10th place finish at the NCAA Championships. The team finished with back-to-back top 10 NCAA finishes for the first time in school history.
That impressive outing was followed by the highest finish in program history with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2009 and the program's second straight SEC title. Three Walker-coached runners, Emmanuel Bor, Tyson David and Moses Kiptoo earned All-America honors
Walker joined the Crimson Tide following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at South Alabama. While at USA, he helped lead athletes to NCAA cross country and indoor individual championships. Walker also helped lead the Jaguars to several Sun Belt team titles.
Prior to his tenure at South Alabama, Walker served as the head coach for the men and women's track and field teams at Meridian (Miss.) Community College. During his stay at MCC, he guided the team to national championships in cross country and indoor track and field. Twice named National Indoor Championship Coach of the Meet, Walker coached 16 individual national champions and 74 All-American performers while at Meridian Community College.
A 1994 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Walker was a four-time Academic All-SEC performer for the Rebels. He was a member of Ole Miss' world ranked 4x1500m squad in 1994 and finished his career with the third best 3,000m time in Ole Miss history.
He is married to Carol Ann Walker and they are the parents of Joseph Kai Walker who was born on July 18, 2002 and Maia Malin Walker who was born on Sept. 17, 2005.