Plymouth alum Walker named the top coach in CIAA

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, March 16, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
In what’s shaping up to be the Year of the Vikings, Plymouth can cut another notch in it’s belt along side its state championship football team, and sectional champion basketball squad. Vikings’ fans can now add CIAA Coach of the Year to their rapidly expanding list of bragging rights, as former Plymouth High School alum Shawn Walker took that honor after guiding his Elizabeth City State University basketball team to a 20-7 record this season. It was the first time the ECSU Vikings had won over 20 games in more than a decade.
While Walker is proud of his success with ECSU, he was quick to pay tribute to his players as the foundation for his personal accolades.
For Walker, the honor is nothing new. When he was with Voorhees College (South Carolina), Walker was named the EAIC Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000. Walker said the key to his coaching success is his love for the game.
That desire paid off for Walker last season, when he coached his team to its first CIAA title in over 25 years.
To get to that point, Walker said he has to start with recruiting the right players.
This year Walker recruited a player who fits his description of the “right kid” and also happens to be extremely talented … and the player also happens to hail from Plymouth.
This fall, Walker was able to sign Plymouth’s two-sport star Angelo Sharpless, and believes that the Vikings’ guard has a bright future ahead of him.
Walker should know, he himself was a football and basketball start at Plymouth as he played under coaches Robert Cody and Sam White respectively.
Sharpless, who played a swingman role for Plymouth, should have no problem adjusting to ECSU, as Walker said he plans on playing him a majority of the time at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
Helping Sharpless’ transition to ECSU be more comfortable is the fact that he played his senior year of basketball under one of Walker’s prot/g/e’s, Darius LaGroon.
LaGroon met Walker when the two were at Voorhees College, and LaGroon made the basketball team as a walk-on.
Upon graduation, LaGroon eventually was offered a job on Walker’s staff at ECSU, before he accepted the job as Plymouth’s head coach this year.
Walker said LaGroon has what it takes to be a very successful head coach.
LaGroon proved himself to be in the mold of Walker in his first season with the Vikings, as he led his team to a sectional championship.