DSU fires both hoop coaches: Walker and Burgess replaced as miserable seasons wind down

Keith Walker

DOVER — The celebration didn’t last long.

Just three days after Delaware State University snapped a 21-game losing streak, the school is parting ways with men’s basketball coach Keith Walker as the university is making sweeping changes to its basketball programs.

Women’s basketball coach Barbara Burgess was also let go Thursday. Both coaches’ contracts were up at the end of the year and neither was going to be renewed.

“We thank coach Walker and coach Burgess for their service to the university,” interim athletic director Mary Hill said in a press release. “We wish them well in their future endeavors.”

Associate head coach Keith Johnson will serve as the interim men’s

Barbara Burgess

coach for the remainder of the season while assistant Kyle Adams will coach the women until the year is over.

Both teams have three regular season games left before the MEAC tournament. Both travel to Howard for a conference clash on Saturday.

Walker took over the men’s program as the interim coach for the final 10 games in 2014 after predecessor Greg Jackson was fired.

The interim label was removed prior to the 2014-2015 season and Walker ended up coaching the Hornets to the MEAC tournament championship game.

That moment was the height of his tenure as he ended with a 43-96 overall record. The Hornets have gone 3-25 this year and did not beat a Division I opponent until Monday’s home victory against Coppin State.

Keith Johnson

That turned out to be Walker’s final game at Delaware State.

“Hopefully this can get us jumpstarted,” Walker said on Monday. “Everyone’s been grinding and we’re preparing for the tournament. A lot of the games we’ve lost have been very close games but we would make mistakes down the stretch.”

Walker was hurt this year when two of his top returning players transferred in the offseason. Devin Morgan left for Youngstown State while DeVaughn Mallory went to Philadelphia; both were starters last year as sophomores.

To make matters worse, starting point Kobe Gantz suffered a season-ending knee injury in the sixth game of the year.

Kyle Adams

Along with interim coach Johnson, Arthur Tyson and Kevin Washington remain as assistants for the rest of the season.

Johnson was Walker’s first appointee to his new staff in 2014. He was previously associate head coach at Coppin State for 13 seasons.

Johnson was a head coach once before at his alma mater Cheyney University, where he went 75-84 in six seasons before leaving in 1995.

Burgess was named DSU’s women’s coach before the 2015-2016 season.

The former DelState standout was previously an assistant at Hampton, where she was part of MEAC championship coaching staffs. Burgess went 17-69 as Delaware State’s head coach.

Adams takes over a team that is currently 5-21. He also was a former head coach at Cheyney with the women’s program. This is his first year at DSU after a stint as North Carolina Central’s associate head coach.

Assistants Felicia Kemp and Donell Thomas, the former Caesar Rodney High boys’ basketball coach, remain on the women’s staff.

Delaware State still hasn’t hired an athletic director since firing Skip Perkins in November.

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