Every last-second win and heartbreaking loss — Ware has seen it all as the Vikings head boys basketball coach for the last 10 years.
Now the program will be in someone else’s hands.
Ware stepped down from his post last week, three months removed from a six-win season that closed with an 85-point loss to eventual state champion Wenonah in the sub-regional round of the state playoffs.
During his tenure, Ware took the program to new heights — leading the Vikings to five area titles and four trips to the Northwest Regional Tournament. Recently, the wins have dried up, giving way to three straight losing seasons.
“It’s been a great experience. There have been some great moments in those 10 years,” said Ware, a Walker High School graduate. “Each individual team, even if it’s not the most successful team, you have moments you remember. We were a family. People on the outside get caught up with records. I told our guys that the only people that really mattered were the ones in the locker room.”
Walker had never advanced to the regional basketball tournament (the format was adopted by the AHSAA in 1994) until Ware led the Vikings to the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State-Hanceville in 2008. That started a run of four straight regional appearances.
“The year after that first team made it (to the regional tournament) we lost so many of those guys. To make it back that second year was really big. We made it back four years in a row,” Ware said.
Walker ran into some of the state’s best competition at Wallace State, losing to Muscle Shoals (54-48), Lee-Huntsville (50-34), Butler (60-36) and Lee-Huntsville (75-35) in consecutive years.
Ware also led the Vikings to a school-record 26 wins in 2007 and put together three consecutive 20-plus win seasons from 2006-08.
Over the last three seasons, the Vikings have compiled a 31-52 record, including a 6-17 mark in the 2012-13 campaign.
This season the Vikings got off to a slow start and never made their customary late-season surge. After losing to rival Curry twice during the regular season, Walker ousted the Yellow Jackets in the area tournament, earning a road game against top-ranked Wenonah in the sub-region round of the playoffs. The eventual 5A state champs scored 45 points in the first quarter en route to dismissing the Vikings 128-43.
“It was a rough season all the way around. There were decisions made by some guys who didn’t get to hang around. That affected everybody. I appreciated this team — the way they bonded and continued to play hard every night. That’s says a lot about them. They didn’t give up,” Ware said.
“Even in our last game (against Wenonah). I thought they played with a lot of class that night. Even with the way the score was. It would have been easy to play dirty, but we never did. They played their hardest the entire night. In the long run, I think the guys will get something out of that.”
Ware leaves Walker with a career record of 172-126 (a .577 winning percentage). Ware, who is also the school’s boys golf coach, has been at the school for a total of 13 years. He served as the boys junior varsity coach before taking over the varsity program for the 2003-04 season.
“I really appreciate the guys who gave me the opportunity for my first head coaching job — Roger Satcher and Danny Gambrell. I feel like the program has moved in a better direction than it was when i took it over,” Ware said.
Ware isn’t sure when, or if, he will coach again.
“If it’s what God has in store for me,” Ware said. “He’s got a plan. I’ll pray on it and He will lead me to the next thing in my life.”
Scotty Ware has resigned as the Walker High School varsity boys basketball coach after 10 years. Ware led the Vikings to the playoffs each of the last 8 years. Here is a look at his record:
Season Record Playoffs
2012-13 6-17 Sub-region
2011-12 13-18 Sub-region
2010-11 12-17 NW Regional
2009-10 16-14 NW Regional
2008-09 16-15 NW Regional
2007-08 24-9 NW Regional
2006-07 26-6 Sub-region
2005-06 23-7 Sub-region
2004-05 17-13 Lost in area
2003-04 19-10 Lost in area
Career record: 172-126 (.577)