Missouri football assistant Bruce Walker retires at 53

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 9:07 p.m. CDT; updated 11:26 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2014

COLUMBIA – Missouri assistant coach Bruce Walker is retiring from college football. 

Walker, 53, has been with the Tigers since 2001. Prior to coming to Missouri, he served on Gary Pinkel's staff at Toledo.

"In this business everybody has a time when they need to hang it up, and it's my time," Walker said in a statement. "I'm very proud to have been a part of 102 wins here and all that we've achieved, and I'm proud of the legacy I leave behind with all the players I've touched over a 26-year career." 

He spent a total 18 years with the Missouri head coach. Walker coached the tight ends and served as an assistant offensive line coach from 2001 to 2008. Two of his tight ends, Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, earned All-American honors during that time. 

He spent the past five seasons as co-offensive line coach. The line was lauded last season for its play in the Southeastern Conference. Senior Justin Britt was selected in the second round of this year's NFL draft, the highest selection of a Missouri offensive lineman since 1987.

"When Coach Walker came in and took over the line with (co-offensive line coach and offensive coordinator) Coach Henson, they brought a nastier edge to the line," former Missouri and current St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Tim Barnes said. "He changed how the linemen approached the game."

Barnes said he was surprised when he heard Walker was stepping away from the game, but he noted the decision will give his former coach more time to fish in Washington, his home state.

Walker said in a statement he wanted to leave on his own terms and spend more time with his family. 

His replacement is yet to be determined. 

"Exactly what steps we take here to fill this spot, it's too soon to know, but we'll get to work on that right away," Pinkel said in a statement. 

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