OREM — Utah Valley University women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon announced the addition of Walter Hopkins to her coaching staff for the upcoming season. Hopkins completes Nixon's 2013-14 staff, joining associate head coach Jason Glover and fifth-year assistant coach Liz Darger.
"We're really excited about what Walt brings to the table both in terms of his individual strengths and his personality," Nixon said. "He's a great person with great character and he has a tremendous academic background that reflects the values that our program carries. He has a passion for helping people be successful and brings great experience from his time in the WNBA. We're happy to have him and for our players to have an opportunity to learn from someone like him."
Hopkins will be entering his first season in Orem fresh off a stint with the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA where he was the director of basketball operations and a player development coach. In his operations role, he acted as the primary liaison between the league office and the Tulsa front office and coaching staff. He coordinated and oversaw team travel and served as the organization's video coordinator.
On a player development front, Hopkins designed and conducted pre- and post-practice sessions with players where he utilized film to aid and guide a player's unique needs. He demonstrated proper technique and movement to players, diagrammed plays and team concepts, and reinforced the philosophies and emphases of the Shock coaching staff. Furthermore, he had a hand in game-planning and in organizing the squad's scout team.
Prior to his time with the Shock, Hopkins worked with the women's basketball program at Harvard University while he completed his master's degree. With the Crimson, Hopkins was present at all practices and assisted in daily drill work. He organized scout teams and aided the coaching staff in day-to-day operations.
"I'm very excited to be here, especially now that I've been able to see the group that we have," Hopkins said. "The girls have been fantastic. Everyone works so hard and the basketball IQs are very, very high. The coaching staff has been warm and welcoming to me and it's clear they know what they're doing. The coaches have already established a culture of character and success here, and I just want to come in and add to that in any way I can."
A native of Sparks, Nevada, Hopkins got his start in coaching in his home state and has experience at almost every level there. Most notably, he was the program director and head coach of the Jam On It Basketball Academy in Reno. There, he coached and directed youth AAU squads and led three JV teams and one varsity team to tournament championships. He also spent a short time with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Developmental League, and he was the head coach of the Reed High School boys JV team and top assistant of the girls varsity team. He helped lead the RHS women to a 4A Nevada state championship in 2012.
Hopkins earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Nevada-Reno, graduating in high distinction in English writing with a minor in philosophy. In addition to his undergraduate studies, Hopkins spent a year at Oxford University in England where he studied creative writing and played on the New College basketball team.
He was awarded a master's degree in special studies from Harvard in May 2013.
The 2013-14 women's basketball season gets underway Nov. 1, when the Wolverines host an exhibition with Adams State. The regular season opener is scheduled for Nov. 8, when Nevada visits the UCCU Center.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company