Kissy Walker, one of NCAA DIII women’s basketball’s winningest coaches, the winningest coach in program history and the longest tenured head coach for a single sport in Husson University Athletics history begins her 27th season at the helm of the Eagles basketball program and the 28th year on the staff in 2016-17.
Walker enters the season with a 469-246 (.649) overall record and she has 234 wins since the Eagles joined the NAC - tied for the second most wins in the league since the 2003-04 season, while developing a program worthy of the women’s basketball team’s rich history at Husson University, which headed into the 2017-18 campaign ranked second in the history of NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball by Victories with a 1050-481-8 (.682) all-time record.
Walker came to Husson in 1988-89 as an assistant coach under her best friend and college teammate Lauree Gott. During that one season, the Braves accumulated 26 wins to only 2 losses, while earning the program’s first NAIA District 5 Championship, however the Braves fell one game short of reaching the program’s first trip to the NAIA National Championship tournament to St. Thomas Aquinas, 65-63, in the NAIA Bi-District Championship. Gott went on to coach at Northeastern University, and Walker was appointed as the program’s 14th head coach prior to the 1989-90 campaign.
Walker led Husson to two Western Maine Athletic Conference (WMAC) Championships in 1991-92 and 1992-93, three Maine Athletic Conference (MAC) Championships in 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1999-00. She was selected as the WMAC, NAIA District 5 and Maine Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW) Coach of the Year in 1991-92. The MAIAW also voted her Coach of the Year in 1992-93 and 1994-95. During this period, Walker coached her teams to four NAIA National Championship appearances, including one historical and exciting trip to the NAIA National Tournament Fabulous Four in 1992-93, while earning MAC Coach of the Year honors in 1999-00 and NAIA District 5 Coach of the Year accolades in 1990-91.
In 2001-02 and 2002-03, Walker took a two year hiatus to finish her Master’s Degree and focus on the adoption of her son. When she returned for the 2003-04 season, her team went on a tear, winning 17 straight North Atlantic Conference (NAC) games, and a NAC Regular Season Title, but the Braves fell to UMaine-Farmington, 61-50, in the NAC Championship Game. However, the Braves’ 23-5 record was good enough to earn them an at-large bid to the program’s first ever trip to the NCAA DIII National Championship Tournament, losing to University of Southern Maine, 73-47. Following the historical first season under the NCAA umbrella, Walker was named NAC Coach of the Year.
Walker guided the Eagles to back-to-back-to-back NAC Regular Season titles in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, while winning back-to-back NAC Championships in 2009-10 and 2010-11 with Walker earning NAC Coach of the Year honors three times from 2009-11.
In 2015-16, Walker’s Eagles earned the program’s first NAC Championship and berth into NCAA DIII National Championship Tournament since 2010-11 with a 58-49 win over arch-rival Castleton, ending the Spartans’ three-year reign as Champions, while producing their first 20-win (21-7) season since 2003-04. Three players collected post season accolades – Victoria McIntyre earned All-NAC First Team, D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region Fourth Team honors, and was named NAC Player of the Year, while being selected to compete in the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Senior All-Star Game and to the All-NAC Tournament Team. Kenzie Worcester earned Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (MWBCA) All-Rookie Team and All-NAC Second Team honors and was named NAC Tournament MVP. Chandler Guerrette earned All-NAC First Team and NAC All-Sportsmanship Team honors while being named to the NAC Defensive Player of the Year. Walker was chosen as NAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in her career.
McIntyre became the seventh Eagle to named Player of the Year under Walker and the first to be selected to the d3hoops.com All-Northeast Region Team, while Worcester led the team in scoring (13.8), field goal percentage (.469), field goals made (134), free throw percentage (.878), free throws made (79), assists (72), assists per game (2.6), steals (67), and steals per game (2.4). She scored the second most points (386), and averaged the third best points per game in a single-season by a freshman in program history, while shooting the third best overall free throw percentage.
The 2016-17 campaign will go down as one of the most memorable and historical seasons in Husson Women’s Basketball history. The Eagles posted their best record under Walker since the 1992-93 season 23-5 record, including a 16-1 mark in NAC play, capturing the program’s first back-to-back NAC Regular Season Titles and NAC Championships and NCAA Tournament berths since the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons which resulted in the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. The 23 wins also tied the program’s NCAA era win mark in a single-season, while recording their fourth-consecutive season with at least 15 wins, and second-consecutive 20-win season for the first time since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
As the top seed in the 2017 NAC Tournament, Husson topped #4 Colby-Sawyer, 72-62, in semifinal action to advance to the NAC championship tilt. In one of the most exciting games in recent memory, the Eagles defeated #3 New England College, 58-55, in the NAC Championship inside Newman Gym on February 25th to claim an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament, the program’s second in the last three seasons and fifth since Husson joined the NCAA’s in 2003-04.
Husson faced DeSales University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Tufts College on Friday, March 3rd. The Bulldogs lead the Eagles by a score of 32-27 at the end of two quarters, but HU powered past DU in the third and fourth stanzas to claim the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship tournament victory, 74-72, and the program’s first National Tournament win since the NAIA Fabulous Four trip in 1992-93. The Eagles had their 2016-17 campaign come to a end by eventual National Runner-up, the #4 ranked team in nation, Tufts, 64-44 in the second round.
A bevy of individual honors followed the finish of the tremendous season, a list highlighted by the accomplishments of senior guard Chandler Guerrette, who earned First Team All-NAC, First Team All-MWBCA, NEWBA Second Team All-New England, D3Hoops.com Third Team All-Northeast, and ECAC All-New England First Team accolades and was selected the NAC and the ECAC New England Player of the Year and the NAC Defensive Player of Year . Sophomore guard Kenzie Worcester earned First Team All-NAC, Second Team All-MWBCA, and ECAC All-New England Honorable Mention honors. Senor guard Denae Johnson was also listed on the NAC All-Sportsmanship Team. After leading her 2016-17 squad to their best record (23-5) since the 1992-93 season, Walker was chosen NAC Coach of the Year for the sixth time, the ECAC New England DIII Coach of the Year and the NEWBA Coach of the Year for the first time.
She has also coached 16 All-Americans, 21 MAIAW/MWBCA All-State first or second team, six NAIA All-District, three MWBCA rookie team, 42 All-Conference, 19 post season Tournament team, 23 NAC All-Academic Team, and three NEWBA Senior All-Star Game, two ECAC All-New England selections, one MWBCA Rookie of the Year, one MWBCA Player of the Year, eight Conference Player of the Years, two Conference Defensive Players of the Year, four Conference Rookie of the Years, one ECAC New England Player of the Year, four NAC All-Tournament MVPs, two NEWBA All-Region players, two d3hoops.com All-Northeast Region players and have had 15 players and one team elected to the Husson Sports Hall of Fame.
Walker was a four-year letterwinner as a point guard for the women’s basketball team at the University of Maine from 1983-86. She tallied 292 points, 162 rebounds, 220 assists and 110 steals in 80 career games played, while shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 56.0 percent from the free throw line. The senior captain helped guide the Black Bears to a 71-38 record during her time on the UMaine campus.
Walker earned a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from the University of Maine in 1986 and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Husson in 2003.
Prior to coming to Husson, Walker spent two years teaching physical education and coaching girls basketball, softball and gymnastics at the Holbrook Middle School in Holden, Maine.
Walker is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WCBA). In the past, she was a member of the Maine Association of Physical Education (MAPHERED), a former member of the Board of Directors for the Bangor Humane Society and is the former President of The Maine Sports Legends, which awards annual scholarships to Maine youths.
Walker is a member of the Husson University Sports Hall of Fame, the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in Worcester, Mass., and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
In addition to her coaching duties, Walker serves as Husson’s Director of Wellness and is a part-time faculty member.
A native of Santa Anna, Calif., Walker attended Cony High School in Maine. She and her son, Isaiah live in Orono, Maine.