Matt Walter is heading into his fourth season as the Ranger head football coach and Offensive Coordinator and is looking for another step in the winning direction.
The 2017 season was a big year in terms of progress for the young Ranger squad where they compiled a record of 5-6, the best mark since joining the NCAA Division II ranks. Under Walter, the team has progressed and gained one win more than the previous in all three seasons under the Ranger legend.
Northwestern had two defensive players make the All-GAC first team after big seasons. Maurice Wright Jr. and Aharon Barnes were two of the best defenders in the league and arguably the best at their respective positions.
The 2017 campaign was no different than the previous years, where the offense under Walter's direction has progressed and made hug strides. This past season was dominated heavily on the ground, but overall the offense was fairly balanced.
In 2015, Quarterback Reid Miller broke five different season passing records, including pass attempts (515), completions (311), passing yards (3,259), passing TD’s (30) and passing yards per game (296.3). 2016 was even better in one category as he broke his own record of passing TD’s, making the new mark 35.
A couple passing records for single games were broken as well with the most passing yards in a game with 500 against Oklahoma Baptist, Touchdown passes thrown with six against Southern Nazarene, and passing attempts by a team in a single game with 70 against East Central. Once again he broke another one of his own marks on history, in that he completed 7 TD’s in the opening weekend in 2016 against Arkansas-Monticello in a 59-56 victory.
In his first season back at Northwestern, Walter coached six All-GAC selections, including a first-team choice in Joby Saint Fleur who was also a First-Team All-Region selection. Year two saw four selections from the team, Horatio Smith (2nd Team), Jordan Norris (2nd Team), Joby Saint Fleur (2nd Team) and Reid Miller (Honorable Mention).
Before returning home to Northwestern, he was at Emporia State for six years where he served as the strength and conditioning coach as well as the Offensive Coordinator.
The Northwestern alumnus was instrumental in the turnaround of Emporia State’s football fortunes. The Hornets were 2-9 in his first season at ESU, but steadily improved and had a breakthrough season in 2012. That year, ESU finished 10-2 in the rugged Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA). In 2013, ESU finished 9-2 and made its first Division II playoff appearance since 2003.
Matt was the Offensive Coordinator the last four years at ESU where his offense was one of the top in the nation for those years.
Walter’s ESU offense ranked 15th in the nation in scoring offense and 20th in the nation in total offense during the 2013 season. In 2012 the Hornets led the MIAA and were ranked 10th in the nation in passing offense. They were also third in the MIAA and 25th in the nation in total offense. Emporia State scored over 40 points in six games that season, reaching 50 on three occasions.
Before going to ESU, Walter spent the four previous seasons as the head strength and conditioning coach for the New Mexico State football team. Known to his athletes as ‘The Punisher’ for his grueling strength, speed and agility training, Walter guided the Aggies to break numerous school records in lifting, running and jumping. He also implemented a nutrition supplement program as well as the Lifter of the Year Award.
Walter is also recognized as a National Speed and Explosion Association certified coach. He previously served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Southeastern Louisiana University for one year. Prior to that, Walter spent one year at Louisiana Tech University as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Walter was a standout athlete at Northwestern during the glory days of Ranger football in the 90’s and early 2000’s where he was the starting Fullback on the National Championship team in 1999 and was named the MVP of that game. He was also named an Honorable Mention All-American in the 2000 season.
Walter now resides in Alva with his wife, Suz and his two sons, Rowan and Torin.