The 3:30 p.m. ceremony will take place in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium between Saturday’s basketball games with Columbia State Community College.
After graduating from Tennessee Wesleyan College with a bachelor of science in biology and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a master’s in educational supervision and administration, Walker began his coaching career at Calhoun High School.
He was the girl’s basketball coach from 1966 through 1974, compiling a 175-57 record. He was hired as the first women’s basketball coach at Cleveland State Community College in 1974. At that time, CSCC was one of the few colleges in the state to file a sanctioned collegiate program in women’s basketball.
During his tenure, Cleveland State’s women’s basketball program was one of the most successful in the state and the nation. Coach Walker led two of his teams to the national tournament, earning a seventh-place finish at the end of the 1974-1975 season, and a fourth-place finish after 1975-1976 season.
Jim Cigliano, TCCAA commissioner and retired vice president of Student Services at CSCC, said, “Hugh Walker was an outstanding coach and trailblazer in women’s basketball. He was a top-notch recruiter of local athletes and represented the college very well. He was a leader in developing women’s college athletics and helped many of his players go on to be successful at four-year institutions. In my opinion, this is a long overdue honor for someone that is truly deserving.”
Walker led Cleveland State to the TJCCAA championship four times during his 10 years at CSCC (1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79). His teams won the regional championship in 1975-76, and were regional runner-ups twice (1974-75 and 1976-77).
Walker was then recognized for the success of the women’s program, being named the TJCCAA Coach of the Year in 1976, and the National Junior College Coach of the Year in 1978.
In 1983, Walker was a speaker at the NJCAA Coaches Convention in Kansas City and was nominated to coach at the Pan-American Games.
Walker helped many of his players advance their careers, producing four All-Americans, one Academic All-American, and sent 35 players on to four-year schools on scholarships. He completed his basketball coaching career at CSCC with an overall record of 205-60.
At the time of his retirement in 1984, he was ranked sixth in the nation by the NJCAA for his lifetime coaching record in women’s basketball.
Mike Policastro, Cleveland State athletic director, said, “We are really pleased coach Walker is going to be inducted into the TCCAA Hall of Fame. This is a tremendous honor. He has had an outstanding career at the junior college level coaching both women’s basketball and softball.”
Walker’s coaching success at CSCC was not limited to women’s basketball; he also served as the head softball coach for three years (1981-1984). He led the softball program to the national tournament twice, finishing fifth in 1982-83, and third in 1983-84. He led the Cleveland State softball program to regionrunner-up honors in 1981-82, losing to the eventual national champion. He produced three All-Americans in softball during that three-year tenure.
Walker’s leadership ability and responsibilities extended beyond the coaching field as he served as the NJCAA Women’s Region VII Director for three years (1981-82, 1982-83, and 1983-84).
Walker and his wife, Kay, live in Cleveland and have two children, Todd and Angie. Todd and his wife, Tracy, also live in Cleveland and have one son, Jackson, 10. Angie, and her husband, Chris, live in Murfreesboro and have a daughter, Abby, 11.
A reception in Walker’s honor will take place immediately following the induction ceremony in the James M. Cigliano Cougar Room of the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium. Former players, family, friends, and members of the community are invited to attend the ceremony and reception.