For six seasons, head coach Rex Walters has worked to build the University of San Francisco men’s basketball team into a bigger, better program. There have been setbacks and disappointments, but also accomplishments and success stories.
With Walters, a Japanese-American, leading the way, the Dons have been one of the West Coast Conference’s tops teams for the 2013-14 season, compiling a 20-10 regular-season record. They placed second in the WCC and earned a bye into the conference tournament’s quarterfinals and a game against the University of San Diego (16-15) on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Walters was named the WCC Coach of the Year earlier this week after leading the Dons to their first 20-victory regular season since 1981-82. Voting was done by the conference’s 10 bench bosses.
Asked to comment on receiving the honor, Walters wrote in an email to The Japan Times, “It is an award for our players, coaches, team, program, athletic department and school. It is something I will reflect on after the season, but right now we need to focus on our next game.”
The last USF head coach to earn the honor was Pete Barry in 1980-81.
Walters, a former shooting guard, played college ball at Kansas, including the 1993 Final Four, under Roy Williams, and during his NBA career (Nets, Sixers, Heat) he was mentored by some of the game’s legendary coaches, Chuck Daly, Larry Brown and Pat Riley. He was chosen No.16 overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Nets.
Danny Yoshikawa, a former assistant at USF under Walters, is head coach of the NBL’s Hyogo Storks.
Editor’s note: The Hoop Scoop column below, from June 2008, highlights Rex Walters’ life in basketball and his then-new job at USF.