Walters takes step back for the ‘big time’

Ryan Walters came to Arizona as a prodigy.

In August 2010, a 24-year-old fresh out of a four-year career at Colorado arrived in Tucson as a graduate assistant with his former CU coach Greg Brown. In less than one year, Ryan Walters was named the UA’s secondary coach, making him the youngest assistant in the Pac-12 at the time.

Even after Brown left Arizona before the 2010 Alamo Bowl, Walters learned under Mike Stoops to continue his path toward becoming a head coach. He quickly earned the respect of his players, due to his youthful perspective, and the coaches, because of his work ethic and knowledge.

But when Stoops was fired halfway through last season, Walters’ progression hit a snag. Rich Rodriguez went on to bring in his own staff and Walters was out of a job.

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

The 26-year-old had some offers to be a position coach at smaller schools, but Walters wanted to land with a big-time program.

When Stoops was named defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Tim Kish took a job as a linebackers coach with the Sooners, OU made perfect sense.

Walters had to take a step back and accept a job as a graduate assistant, but in the end, taking on a career path at a school like Oklahoma was too tough to pass up.

“There were other possibilities, I just felt like at this time in my career this was the best fit for me,” Walters said. “Just being part of a program as prestigious as Oklahoma, getting to see what big time football was all about. It was more of a conscious decision just being with Mike again. I feel like me and Mike have a really good relationship.”


Share this article