Clover High School didn’t have to look far.
Shakkia Walker, a former Blue Eagle basketball player and longtime Clover assistant coach, has been named the school’s next head women’s basketball coach.
Walker succeeds Sherer Hopkins, the all-time winningest coach in Clover women’s basketball history, who retired from the program at the end of March.
“It’s very exciting,” Walker told the Herald in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Sometimes you just sit there and think, ‘Will that moment ever come? And then there it is, here I am, capable of becoming the head coach of Clover High School.
“I had great leadership and mentorship from Coach Hopkins, and I’m just really excited to see what happens next.”
Walker said she met with returning Clover players on Wednesday to let them know she would be their coach next year. She has already planned summer basketball activities for June, she said, and plans to meet and introduce herself to college basketball players in the district in the coming weeks.
“We’re taking off,” she said.
Walker grew up in Clover and graduated from Clover High in 2001. She was a player on the women’s basketball team that made the state finals in 2000 – which at the time marked the deepest run in the program’s history — and she was also an assistant on the 2021 team that delivered Clover women’s basketball its first state championship.
After graduating, she went to Claflin University before returning to Clover and joining the high school coaching staff in 2011.
“Shakkia was part of the two most successful runs in Clover women’s basketball history, first as a player and then as an assistant coach,” Clover athletic director Bailey Jackson said in a statement. a statement. “She was an integral part of our latest success and was the overwhelming choice of our interview panel. She is ready to lead our program and I look forward to working with her in her new role.
This is Walker’s first head coaching job, but there’s plenty of reason to believe she’ll lead the program as her predecessor did for more than two decades.
And its predecessor ended on a rather positive note. Clover finished 18-6 overall and went 8-0 in the 3-5A region in 2021-22 – earning its third straight regional championship and fourth straight with a playoff win.
“It really means a lot to follow in Coach Hopkins’ footsteps,” Walker said. “She’s been with me since I was in eighth grade, so she must have watched me grow as a person and helped me on my journey.”
Walker added: “She was there for 22 years, so that foundation is established. It’s up to me to take what I’ve learned from her and grow and expand it even further.