Tulsa picked up another Sooner connection when it hired Darnell Walker Sr. to its coaching staff Tuesday.
Walker, 42, will coach cornerbacks for the Golden Hurricane, coach Bill Blankenship said. He played as a defensive back for the University of Oklahoma in the early 1990s.
During his OU career, he had 11 interceptions for returns of 201 yards and one touchdown, earning UPI Big Eight Newcomer of the Year in 1990 and first team all-Big Eight and honorable mention All-America honors in 1992.
He had an eight-year career in the NFL with three different teams, having played with the Atlanta Falcons (1993-96), the San Francisco 49ers (1997-99) and the Detroit Lions (2000).
Previously, Walker coached defensive backs at Southwest Baptist in Missouri for three seasons. In the duration of his tenure, the Bearcats won 19 games. He also coached six seasons at Bacone College in Muskogee.
“I’m excited to have Darnell join our coaching staff,“ Blankenship said. “He brings an incredible resume. Darnell is an excellent teacher of the game. Any time you get a man that has actually played at the highest level and is able to take those experiences and transition into coaching the way he has, it makes for a very impressive coach,” said Blankenship. “He played corner in the NFL and that’s exactly what he’s going to be teaching. He’s really, really good at training his players at a high level. I think Darnell is the right fit for us.”
Ironically, there is a family connection too. His son, Darnell Walker Jr., signed a letter of intent to play at TU earlier this month.
“Through the recruiting of his son, I became more impressed with Darnell as a coach because of all the work I saw him do with his son. He obviously has the ability to teach and as we started researching it, he went to the top of our list,” Blankenship said.
Walker replaces Van Malone, who left the staff nearly two weeks ago to coach defensive backs at Oklahoma State.