Bruce Walker made a move in 2009 to serve as co-offensive line coach, a position he had assisted with for the previous 13 seasons under Gary Pinkel, while also being in charge of the tight ends. He made a name for himself one of the top tight ends coaches in the nation the past several years, as he helped develop Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman into two of the most accomplished players in the nation. Each won consensus 1st-Team All-American honors in 2007 (Rucker) and 2008 (Coffman), and Coffman capped his record-breaking career by winning the John Mackey Tight End Award, given annually to the nation's top player at that position. Coffman became the first Tiger in history to win a national individual honor that is specific to a position group.
In Walker's first year as co-offensive coach in 2009, his group excelled at protecting first-year starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Thanks to the line's work, Mizzou ranked 14th in the nation in passing while allowing only 20 sacks in 13 games. Three of Walker's linemen - senior Kurtis Gregory (2nd-Team), and sophomores Elvis Fisher (Hon. Men.) and Dan Hoch (Hon. Men.) - all earned Big 12 award status. Gregory eventually earned an invitation to the NFL Combine for his stellar play.
It was more of the same from Walker's group in 2010, as the Tiger offensive line helped pave the way for an attack that ranked 35th in the nation, averaging 409.62 yards per game as Mizzou won 10 games for only the fourth time in school history. Four of Walker's starting five on the line earned some level of all-conference honors, including senior center Tim Barnes (1st-Team), junior tackle Dan Hoch (2nd-Team), junior tackle Elvis Fisher (Hon. Men.) and junior guard Austin Wuebbels (Hon. Men.).
In 2011, the Tiger offensive line - despite the pre-season loss of All-Big 12 left tackle Elvis Fisher to a season-ending injury - developed into a stout unit that paved the way for a Big 12 team rushing title in 2011. The Tigers ranked 9th nationally, and led the Big 12 in rushing (244.00 avg.) and also ranked 12th nationally in total offense (475.54 avg.), despite featuring a first-year starter at quarterback.
From 2004-08, Walker had the luxury of working with the best pair of tight ends in the nation, in Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. Rucker culminated his outstanding Tiger career with an award-winning season in 2007, as he was a consensus 1st-Team All-American, becoming MU's first All-American tight end since the great Kellen Winslow in 1978. Rucker caught an MU-record 84 passes in 2007 for 834 yards and 8 touchdowns, while also being a finalist for the John Mackey Tight End Award. Rucker was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
Coffman caught 90 passes for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008, despite missing two games due to injury, and he ended his career with school records of 247 receptions and 30 touchdowns, to go with the 2nd-most receiving yardage in MU history (2,659). He was a third-round NFL Draft pick in 2009 by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Each player won 1st-Team All-Big 12 honors in 2006 (Rucker from coaches, Coffman from media), and Coffman was a semi-finalist for the John Mackey Award. The duo combined to catch 111 passes for 1,149 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2006.
In 2005, Rucker earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after leading MU with 47 catches for 567 yards and 1 TD, with his catches ranking 1st among Big 12 tight ends in 2005, and 2nd-most in MU single-season history for the position. Coffman, despite being a true freshman, was nothing but impressive from day one in fall camp, as he tied Rucker with 47 catches for 503 yards and 4 TDs. Those numbers ranked at the time as the 3rd-best single-season performance in MU tight end history, and earned the rookie a spot on the Rivals.com Freshman All-American 1st-Team.
In 2004, the tight ends were instrumental in MU's passing attack, with the primary weapons being senior Victor Sesay and redshirt freshman Martin Rucker. The duo combined for 50 catches, 577 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season. Rucker earned 2nd-Team Freshman All-American honors for his standout rookie year that saw him grab 19 balls for 263 yards and 4 TDs, the latter of which was the 2nd-best total on the squad. Sesay signed a free agent contract following the 2005 NFL Draft with the Miami Dolphins.
In 2001, Missouri tight ends combined for 50 receptions, 484 yards and eight touchdowns. Dwayne Blakley was tabbed honorable mention All-Big 12 after pulling in 34 receptions for 362 yards and four touchdowns. He went on to sign a free agent contract with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, and currently plays with the Atlanta Falcons, having started multiple games during the 2007 season.
Walker has successfully recruited some of the best high school players out of the state of Texas while at Mizzou. Walker signed highly-regarded all-state defensive end Brian Smith (Denton) in 2002 and all-state wide receiver Thomson Omboga (Grand Prairie) in 2001. Smith went on to become Mizzou's alltime career quarterback sacks leader and was drafted by the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. Walker also inked safety Justin Garrett, who was a productive multi-year starter for the Tigers, and more recently signed Jacquies Smith of Dallas, who made big impressions while earning significant playing time in 2008 as a true freshman defensive end. His recruiting bounty of several stars in 2010 helped the Tiger recruiting class garner a national ranking of 21st-best in the nation - the highest a Tiger class has ever been ranked.
While at Toledo, Walker coached two of the best tight ends to ever wear a Rockets' uniform. From 1998-2000, Walker coached All-MAC tight end Mike Bilik, who finished his career with 75 receptions. He also coached Lyle Green, who was voted the team's most valuable receiver in 1999 and a co-captain in 2000. Green was the third overall pick in the 2001 CFL Draft. During the 2000 season, the Rocket tight ends combined for 59 catches and six touchdowns.
In 1993, behind Walker's offensive line, the Central Washington led all NAIA schools in total offense, averaging 517 yards per game. CWU also ranked first in the NAIA in rushing, averaging 198.5 yards per game. In 1995, the Wildcats earned a share of the NAIA national title, tying Findlay (OH) in the title game.
The quarterback of that team, Jon Kitna, finished his career with 12,907 yards in total offense and 12,353 passing yards, the best and second-best, respectively, in NAIA Division II history.
Walker graduated from Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, Wash., where he earned All-Mid Valley League honors at linebacker and center. He played two seasons at Yakima Valley College before Central Washington.
A 1983 graduate of CWU, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration, Walker was a two-year starter for the Wildcats at center. He earned a Master of Science degree in physical education in 1989.
Walker and wife, Sharryn, are the parents of Natalie and Maggie.