DeWayne Walker, who has excelled at coaching defense for three different organizations in the National Football League, has been named defensive coordinator at UCLA, Bruin head coach Karl Dorrell announced today.
Walker joins the Bruins from the Washington Redskins, where he has coached the secondary, specifically the cornerbacks, for the last two seasons under head coach Joe Gibbs and highly-respected defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. This past season, the Redskins won 10 of 16 regular-season games, including their final five straight, to earn a wild-card berth in the playoffs. Washington defeated Tampa Bay on the road before dropping a 20-10 decision to the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks on the road.
"I am thrilled that Dewayne has decided to join us here at UCLA," said Dorrell. "He brings a wealth of defensive experience, both at the professional and the collegiate levels, to our program. He is a great tactician who excels at game-planning against an opponent's strengths.
"In addition, Dwayne is an outstanding teacher. Everyone with whom I spoke about DeWayne talked about his ability to tutor young players and help them realize their potential. With the amount of young talent we have in our program, I anticipate an immediate improvement on our defense."
In 2005, the Redskins ranked No. 1 among the NFL's 32 teams in lowest opponent passing percentage (54.4%). In addition, they also ranked second (tied) in fewest touchdown passes allowed (15), 10th in pass defense (192.6 yards) and 14th (tied) in interceptions (16). Walker played a key role in the development of rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers and the continued fine play of Shawn Springs.
In 2004, his first year in Washington, he coached Springs to a solid year. Springs became the first cornerback in NFL history to lead his team in sacks (five) and interceptions (six) in the same season and finished the year with 69 tackles. He also tutored veteran Walt Harris and Fred Smoot in that first year.
Walker, 45, spent the previous two seasons as secondary coach of the New York Giants. In his first year, he worked under defensive coordinator John Fox, who has led the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl and a second NFC title game in the last three years.
Prior to joining the Giants, Walker spent the 2001 season as associate head coach/secondary coach at USC under Pete Carroll and was the first staff member hired by Carroll. That season, the Trojans ranked seventh nationally with 19 interceptions and also ranked 16th nationally in pass defense (179.2 yards) and 16th (tied) in fewest touchdown passes allowed (11).
He also served as secondary coach of the New England Patriots for three seasons, the first two (1998 and 1999) under Carroll and the third (2000) under Bill Belichick. During his tenure with the Patriots, defensive backs Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy each earned trips to the Pro Bowl.
Walker began his coaching career at Mt. San Antonio College (1988-92), serving as secondary coach for four seasons before becoming defensive coordinator in 1992. He then gained valuable experience by coaching at Utah State (1993), BYU (1994), Oklahoma State (1995) and California (1996-1997) before moving to the Patriots.
He also participated in the NFL's minority coaching internship program, working with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996 and the Patriots in 1997.
A former cornerback himself, Walker played three seasons professionally - one in the CFL (Edmonton Eskimos in 1982) and two in the USFL (Oakland Invaders in 1984 and Arizona Outlaws in 1985). In college, he was a two-year starter at Minnesota (1980-81) and playing at Pasadena City College for two years.
Walker, who earned his bachelor's degree from Regents College in Albany, NY, and his wife, Zan, have three children - daughters Kesha and Kendra and son Kevan.