Former Australian Football League player and current Melbourne Business School MBA candidate James Walker has been appointed the University Blues football team Senior Coach for season 2017.
Walker is no stranger to the University, as a Bachelor of Commerce student in 1997 he trained with the University Blues and lived at Trinity College.
After Walker’s first year of studies, he moved to Western Australia when he was chosen at pick number six in the 1997 AFL draft by the Fremantle Football Club (Dockers). He went on to play 151 AFL games over 10 seasons for the Dockers, earning an honorary life membership to the club when retiring after season 2007.
“Playing for an AFL team grants a broad exposure to different coaching styles and opportunities to learn in an elite environment, and these skills can be transferred to amateur football”, Walker said.
Walker returns to coach the University Blues armed with a wealth of experience. He has an optimistic view for the University Blues in the future, following the team’s solid performances in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) Premier Division.
“We are looking to improve on positive performances in recent years – for the last two seasons, the Blues have made the preliminary final each time (VAFA premier division). We can go one step further with some key player development this year”, Walker said.
Walker has also enrolled in the MBA program at the Melbourne Business School in 2016 to enrich his management career in the Victorian utilities sector. He notes that his career in business management has tangible benefits for his coaching prospects with the Blues.
“There are similarities between managing a business and a sports team. In both environments, managers have a variety of talent at their disposal. The best managers will find a way to get the most out of their talent pools”, Walker said.
With any luck, Coach Walker will succeed in maximising the talent at the University Blues for season 2017.
The University Blues join the University Blacks in the VAFA Premiership Division, starting Saturday 8 April.
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James Walker played 151 games for the Fremantle Dockers between 1998 and 2007. Image: Getty Images