April 9, 2007

Players support hiring of Martin

He arrived at Bramlage Coliseum wearing a black headband. But Bill Walker wasn't in mourning as he observed Frank Martin in his first news conference as the Kansas State head coach on Monday. After Martin talked about passion and continuity, Walker finally flashed his trademark smile to reporters. The five-day rollercoaster that featured emotional dips and anxious twists was over. Walker announced, "I'm ready to ride with Frank."

Martin gained a trainload of support on Monday. But he found a valuable train conductor, an engineer of sorts, on Friday afternoon. A few hours before K-State announced Martin as the Wildcats' 22nd head coach, Martin shared the news of his hiring with Walker inside Bramlage before the latest Division I first-year coach caught a flight and eventually ended up in Fayetteville, Ark.

"Personally, I want to jumpstart Frank's career," Walker said. "I want him to have so much success. These guys have worked hard and he's sacrificed so many things. I'm going to work my (rear) off to make sure his career gets off to a good start."

On Monday, Walker's (rear) was on board in the Bramlage Legend's Room. Walker served as the 19-year-old point man. He said he was a team leader. He figured he must become a leader "in order for us to win and have success."

Senior David Hoskins, who will play for his fourth college coach in four years, was on board, too. So was senior Blake Young, whose former junior college coach, Brad Underwood, was promoted to assistant coach from director of basketball operations. Dalonte Hill was promoted to associate head coach after serving as an assistant last season. All the pieces seemed to be in order.

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