Lexington coach inspiring youth

Eric Walker created Skills & Drills to help on and off court

LEXINGTON, Va. – "I want to live. You know, I've been surviving for 27 years. I want to live," said Eric Walker.

Walker grew up in Rockbridge County and, like many, became attracted to the game of basketball. He admits he wasn't the best in high school, but a seed had been planted.

"Through perseverance and knowledge to the game I've become, I guess, a skill and  developmental coach all over the country," said Walker.

Walker played while in the military before spending time in Virginia Western's program. But when a job was hard to come by following college, Walker found himself stepping out of bounds -- became involved with illegal substances. He knew something had to change.

"Once you're hurt and it hits your soul, you have a tendency to change," he said. 

In an effort to help the next generation improve on the court rather than sit in a courtroom, Walker formed Skills and Drills Bible Basketball. It's a year-round program focused on skill development fundamentals for athletes of all ages and skill sets.

"Eric has always -- he's sold cars, he's tried to find his niche and I think he found his on his Niche with basketball," said Tammy Dunn. She is a cousin of Walker's and serves as the Youth Services Director for Lexington.

"He really cares about everyone that he teaches, and he just want you to get better and be the best that you can be," said Parry McCluer High School junior Peyton Mohler.

"I go from one client to thousands in 38 different states," said Walker.

In 2014 he returned to Faith Christian Academy in Roanoke as the head coach of the girls basketball program.

"He's still dealing with it, but he's dealing with it in a positive way to make himself a better person," said Dunn.

Walker says his faith keeps him grounded. And although his goal is to one day coach at the next level, he remembers it's about more than just basketball -- it's guiding the youth in the right direction.

"The basketball has been a blessing for me; it's been a savior. Again through my Bible and basketball ministry that I have, I've been able to infiltrate and I've been able to to get into systems that flesh says I can't," said Walker.

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