Wake Forest has added Rex Walters as an associate head coach for its men’s basketball program, filling the spot that opened with Jamill Jones’ resignation last month.
“First and foremost, I am excited about working for (Coach) Danny Manning,” Walters said in a news release. “Coach Manning is someone that I have the utmost amount of respect for. … I am looking forward to recruiting and coaching the young men in this program and will have fun working alongside a staff of Randolph Childress, Steve Woodberry, Ernie Nestor and Justin Bauman.”
Walters spent this past season as the special assistant to the head coach at Nevada, during which the Wolf Pack was 29-5 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He has 11 years of head-coaching experience, 10 of which have come in college basketball. Walters was 31-33 in two seasons at Florida Atlantic between 2006-08, and then was 127-127 in eight seasons at San Francisco from 2008-16.
Walters’ other coaching experience comes in the form of one season as a head coach in the G-League, one season as an NBA assistant (with the Pistons in 2017-18), and stints as an associate and assistant coach at Valparaiso and Florida Atlantic.
“I am excited to have Rex join our coaching staff,” Manning said in the news release. “He has tremendous experience as a collegiate head coach and as an assistant coach in the NBA. Rex is widely respected as a great X-and-Os coach and the impact he made at Nevada last season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, was phenomenal.”
Nevada was the 35th-best defense in the country last season, according to KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric. That was an improvement from the rank of 108th in the previous season.
Wake Forest has never been better than 125th in defensive efficiency in Manning’s five seasons, in which the Deacons are 65-93 overall and 25-61 against ACC teams. Last season, Wake Forest was 186th in defensive efficiency — the worst mark of Manning’s tenure.
Walters began his collegiate playing career at Northwestern before transferring to Kansas, where he twice earned All-Big 8 Conference honors. As a senior in 1992-93, Walters helped the Jayhawks to the Final Four. He went on to have a seven-year NBA career and played three seasons overseas before entering the coaching ranks.
The arrival of Walters means Bauman returns to his role as director of basketball operations. He held that position and interim assistant coach last season after Jones was placed on leave. Nestor returns as special assistant to the head coach for the second season.
Jones resigned April 12, having been on leave since Aug. 13 after he was charged with third degree assault in connection to the death of Sandor Szabo.