By T. Scott Boatright
Making the most out of opportunities is something former Ruston High School Track and Field sprinter Keitavious Walter has long been known for.
And now Walter has raced up the coaching ranks in blazing fashion after being named as the head track and field coach in early June at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Kansas at the age of 27.
During the 2021-22 school year, Walter was an Assistant Coach at Coffeyville Community College and was named the NJCAA Indoor Region VI Assistant Coach of the Year.
At Coffeyville, Walter coached the 200-meter indoor champion, Antonio Evens, who also holds the school record at 20.84 seconds and helped lead Coffeyville to a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA Track and Field National Championships.
He spent the 2022-23 season coaching sprinters at relay teams at Northwest Tech.
“We are impressed with the guidance and coaching that Coach Walter has provided this past season,” said Northwest Tech Athletic Director Rory Kling as he announced Walter’s promotion to the head coaching position. “We are excited for the continued success of the program as we run into the 2023-24 season.”
As sprinter for Ruston High, finished second in the Louisiana High School Activities Association (LHSAA) 60m dash as a senior in 2015 with a time of 6.92 seconds after setting the Carl Maddox Field House high school record with a 6.83 in the preliminaries.
Walter began his college athletic career at Hinds Community College, which he attended from 2015-17.
At Hinds, Walter was a two-time NJCAA 60-meter dash champion, a NJCAA 200m Dash Champion (Indoor and Outdoor), a member of the Hinds 2017 NJCAA Outdoor Championship 400m relay team.
After attending Hinds, Walter transferred to the University of Alabama, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Housing and Human Environments.
While at Alabama, Walter was named First Team All-SEC for the outdoor 200 meters (2018) and was also a 200-meter All-American during the 2019 indoor season.
Now Walter is taking what he learned during that outstanding career and transferring to coaching.
“It’s crazy,” Walter said of the success he’s already had as such a young coach. “I had no idea my first year at Coffeyville would go that way, being named Coach of the Year and all of that. But that title now as head coach holds more weight, and I have to live up to that.
“I know I’m excited to get that chance and plan to make the most of it.”
Walter admits it’s the spirit of competition that has fueled his fire for the coaching profession.
“I like to compete, I like to win,” Walter said. “But I know that takes hard work. But hard work has never scared me. I feed on it. Track and field – and any athletics – is as much mental as it is physical.
“Coaching, running, competing in anything is all about focus and preparation. And that’s what I want to help my athletes do. I’ve learned a lot over the years and feel I have a lot to teach. This is an incredible opportunity and I just want to make the most of it.”
Current Ruston High track and field coach watched Walter’s prep career when he was head coach at Ouachita Parish High School and said that Northwest Tech made the right move in promoting Walter to head coach following the departure of former head coach Evans Kiptoo.
“He’s always been driven,” Smith said of Walter. “He won on every level he competed at. And I know he’ll build a winner at Northwest Tech and help his track and field athletes be the best they can be.”