Ben Walker realises dream after being appointed senior coach of Edithvale-Aspendale
Ben Walker started playing junior football at Edithvale-Aspendale at the age of nine.
Now, at 38, he‘s been appointed the club’s senior coach.
It’s a dream come true for the father of two, made even more special by the fact he will steer the Eagles in their centenary season in 2020.
“I was pretty stoked,” Walker said after being appointed on Monday night.
“I made sure I went and visited mum and dad who are the reason I was at the club initially.”
Walker was a splendid player and a member of Edi-Asp’s back-to-back premierships in 1999-2000.
He was awarded club life membership about a decade ago.
Walker joined Southern league club Skye in 2010 and had eight seasons there, including four seasons as senior coach from 2014-17 (the Bombers made the grand final in 2014).
He returned to Edi-Asp this year as an assistant coach, looking after the Eagles’ midfield, and applied for the senior job but initially was overlooked as the club appointed former Seaford mentor Ben Murphy.
New Edi-Asp coach Ben Walker. Picture: GameFace
But when Murphy withdrew due to personal reasons last Sunday, Walker was called in for another interview and was swiftly appointed.
“I was really surprised to be honest,” Walker said of his appointment.
“It’s been a funny old week.
“I always had the intention of putting my name up in lights and coaching again. It probably came a little earlier than expected but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Edi-Asp missed finals in 2019 but Walker says the Eagles “are not that far away” from success.
He says, with the support of his wife, he will give it all he’s got in a bid to guide Edi-Asp back to glory — and will draw on past experiences.
“I played under Brett Wright, who was my first coach. He taught me so much. He was a really good communicator,” he said.
“John Hynes was that next stand out for me, his ability to get everyone on the same page and understand what the jumper meant. That was huge.”
Walker said he’s always enjoyed coaching — even as a teenager.
“When I was 16 and playing juniors at Edi-Asp, I coached the Under 12s with my mate Cam Riley,” he said.
“We won a flag in the first year and the following year we took them to a preliminary final.
“To a certain extent I would say it’s always something I’ve aspired to do.
“I moved to Skye to start my (senior coaching) education and Corey Stephens, who was the senior coach at the time, really helped me to develop my skills in that area and I can’t thank Skye enough.”
Edi-Asp vice-president Aaron Martello said Walker’s professionalism and “passion” helped get him across the line.
“He has an fantastic idea about where he wants to take the club and how he wants to manage the list,” he said.
“He is a true Edi-Asp person, a dual premiership player and a life member. We think it’s a good appointment.”
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Edithvale Aspendale FC is pleased to announce and the return of Mark Fitcher as Reserves Coach for 2020. Fitchy after having a break In 2019 returns to his beloved Eagles. Fitchy took Edi Asp Reserves to Grand Finalist in 2018, and we are excited to have the great man return.dd paragraph text here.