After leading the Western Oregon baseball program to its 12th-straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season title, Kellen Walker has been named head baseball coach and will lead the program on a permanent basis, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Barbara Dearing announced on Thursday.
Walker served as the interim head coach for WOU during the 2013 season following six seasons with the Wolves as an assistant coach.
“Kellen has been a key part of a very successful program at WOU over the last seven years and did a tremendous job as the interim head coach last season,” Dearing said. “He is a diligent worker with attention to detail and has shown he is ready to take the reins of the program.”
As the interim head coach during the 2013 season, Walker led the Wolves to a 34-20 overall record as WOU captured the regular season GNAC title while winning the inaugural GNAC postseason tournament championship. In Walker’s seven seasons with the WOU baseball program, the Wolves have amassed an overall record of 246-113 while advancing to the NCAA West Regional Baseball Championship four times.
Under his guidance in 2013, WOU had 10 student-athletes named to the GNAC all-conference squad while shortstop Blake Miller, who graduated from South Salem High School, earned a pair of All-American honors and was named Daktronics, Inc., West Region Player of the Year.
In addition, Miller and pitcher AJ Burke were selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
“I am excited and honored to continue on as the head baseball coach at Western Oregon University,” Walker said. “I would like to thank President Mark Weiss, Jon Carey (former WOU athletic director), Barbara Dearing and the entire search committee for this wonderful opportunity.”
Prior to serving as the program’s interim head coach, Walker spent six seasons as an assistant coach at WOU. During his time in the position, Walker worked with the WOU infielders and served as the program’s hitting instructor.
Walker also served as the lead recruiter for the program and was involved in organizing and running practices. Walker also handled administrative duties for the baseball program, including scheduling travel, coordinating camps and other fundraising activities.
Walker played collegiately for two seasons at Lassen CC in Susanville, Calif., earning a pair of all-conference honors. He then played two seasons at Point Loma Nazarene University, where he hit .283 with 32 RBI and 11 stolen bases as a senior.
A Roseburg, Ore., native, he was an all-state selection for Roseburg High School in football and baseball.
Walker is married to Tyler Sutherland, an outstanding softball student-athlete for the Wolves from 2007-10. The couple was married in the summer of 2010 and had their first child, Gracie, in November of 2011.