Matt Walker isn’t just the director of Northwest’s School of Communication and Mass Media; he was recently named as the future tight ends coach for the football team.
The transition was smooth for Walker, as football, and all sports in general, have always been a passion of his.
“I was always into something,” Walker said. “I’ve always had a passion for (football), and it was something that I was always drawn to.”
As Walker gradually starts to take over as tight end coach, his involvement with the School of Communication and Mass Media is still his main priority. While Walker attended college, and obtained multiple degrees in the higher education fan, sports have always been an important factor in his life and have even paved the way for his future ambitions.
“I was really fortunate enough to have some great coaches along the way that helped me out,” Walker said. “I was a quarterback in high school and had a really good senior year, and went on to play division three football for three years.”
After obtaining a bachelor's degree from Edinboro College, a master's degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri, Walker’s path crossed with a family friend and Northwest employee. This coincidence ultimately led him to apply for an open position and move his life here to Maryville, Missouri. Once here, the passion and drive to coach football for Walker never subsided.
“I spoke to coach (Rich) Wright and said that I’ve got some extra time, and if you need any help, I’ve got some coaching background and I’d love to help,” Walker said. “At first, I thought it was going to be helping break down footage or looking for tendencies and things like that. He called me one night said said, ‘Why don't you do this part?’ and I think my eyes got as big as dinner plates.”
While being a football coach is normally a full-time job, Walker has to find a balance between coaching and his regular duties with the school of communication. Being the director of the school of communication is a lot to put on one's plate, but Walker made it work so that he could follow both of his passions and bring great things to each side.
“I took some time to think about it because I wanted to make sure that I could balance this job as the director of the School of Communication and Mass Media, but also do justice to the student-athletes on the football team as well,” Walker said. “We got it worked out to the point where I'm fortunate enough to do both.”
The future of his work as director will still consist of the position he has now, with overseeing upwards of 350 students, but being a football coach will be a new addition to the resume.
“Coach Wright and I had talked about that extensively and he knows that and he even emphasized that,” Walker said. “Throughout the week, this is my bread and butter.”
Walker still wants to keep his intentions for both normal students and student-athletes the same. While his future has him bringing his energy and guidance to football players at Bearcat Stadium, his passion to build and enrich the lives of students at Northwest remains evident.
“I want to help create an environment where students can become more successful,” Walker said. “I just want to see people be as good as they can be; it’s just finding out what those people need and trying to provide that for them.”