Rex Walters was named the sixth head men's basketball coach at Florida Atlantic University on April 28, 2006. The promotion from associate head coach came after one season of working side-by-side with Matt Doherty in laying a foundation for college basketball in Boca Raton.
Walters joined the FAU staff on April 20, 2005. One year and eight days later, he became a head coach for the first time in his coaching career.
In his first season at the helm, Walters guided Florida Atlantic to its second consecutive winning season. It's the first time the program posted back-to-back winning campaigns since the team had three straight years of winning basketball from 1989-90 to 1991-92.
In 2006-07, the Owls won 10 Sun Belt Conference games, the third-most for a first-year Sun Belt member. The team also scored 2,321 points on the year, the most in FAU history. DeAndre Rice and Carlos Monroe were named Second Team All-Sun Belt, the first student-athletes honored with a major postseason distinction under Walters' direction.
With Walters on the sidelines in 2005-06, Florida Atlantic closed its tenure in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 15-13 record overall and the program's best conference record at 14-6. The 15 victories were a five-win improvement over 2004-05, when the Owls went 10-17 overall.
Prior to Florida Atlantic, Walters' first collegiate coaching job came at Valparaiso, a two-year stint as an assistant under Homer Drew. The 2003-04 Hornets were 18-13 overall and finished first in the Mid-Continent Conference with a record of 11-5.
The following season, Walters' second on the bench, Valparaiso went 15-16, earning third place in the MCC with a 10-6 mark. His coaching career began in 2002-03 in Overland Park, KS, where he served as an assistant coach for the Blue Valley Northwest High School team that reached the Kansas Class 6A State Tournament.
Walters' pedigree for coaching began as a player, receiving tutelage from some of the game's legendary coaches. Roy Williams at the University of Kansas and the NBA's Chuck Daly, Larry Brown and Pat Riley all mentored Walters during his years as a player.
He first made his name known in college, starring for two seasons at Kansas. In 68 starts under Williams, he averaged 15.6 points per game, leading the Jayhawks in scoring during both his junior and senior campaigns.
KU combined to go 56-12 overall in 1991-92 and 1992-93, winning back-to-back Big Eight titles and reaching the 1993 Final Four. Walters was named to the All-Big Eight team both seasons and was Big Eight Male Athlete of the Year as a senior in 1993.
As a junior, Walters averaged 16.0 points per game as the Jayhawks went 27-5. In his senior season, KU had a record of 29-7, with Walters scoring at a clip of 15.3 points per game.
Walters was an outstanding scorer from all areas of the court at Kansas, shooting nearly 51% from the field, 42% from three-point range and 85% at the free throw line. His college career originally began at Northwestern University, where he earned honorable mention from the Big 10 in 1989-90 after leading the team in scoring (17.6 ppg), three-point shooting (47.3%), free throw shooting (79.4%) and assists (125) as a sophomore.
It was during his senior season at Kansas that Walters made his first connection with Doherty, who joined the team as an assistant coach. The two reunited again for Doherty's single season at FAU, opening the door for Walters' move to the top.
After graduating from Kansas in 1993 with a B.S. in education, Walters was taken by New Jersey as the 16th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He went on to play seven seasons in total with the Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, averaging 4.6 points and 1.7 assists per game in 13.7 minutes.
Walters averaged a career-best 6.8 points per game for Philadelphia in 1996-97, and made 67 career starts in 335 games. His career assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly two-to-one.
He was New Jersey's top three-point shooter in 1994-95 (36.2%) and Philadelphia's top long-range marksman in 1996-97 (38.5%). A constant competitor who is always ready for the game, Walters averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 assists per game in eight starts for the 76ers to end the 1995-96 season.
Walters' professional career spanned nine seasons in total, ending in 2002 after playing internationally for two years and winning an American Basketball Association title with the Kansas City Knights.
A native of Omaha, NE, Walters and his wife, Deanna, have four children: Addison (10), Drew (8), Riley (5) and Gunner (3).
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