Kirk Walker is an Angeleno at heart, and almost by birth.
The Woodland Hills native went to school at UCLA, where he also made a name for himself on the Bruins’ softball coaching staff. Before he had graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he had already won three NCAA National Championships with the team.
So it wasn’t a surprise when Pac-10 rival Oregon State came calling to promote Walker to head coach and empower him to build the Beavers a successful program.
At Oregon State, Walker became a legend. In almost two decades coaching there he won more games than any other softball coach in school history and was the first coach to lead an Oregon State women’s team to a Pac-10 regular-season title in any sport. He also lead the team to its first Women’s College World Series.
When Walker got a call from UCLA to return to Westwood in 2012, he simply couldn’t pass it up. So he packed up his family and moved back to La La Land, settling just a couple miles from Six Flags in Santa Clarita. Most recently, the team made it to the 2018 Women’s College World Series and was one of the last four teams remaining before being eliminated.
As a coach, Walker has won the NCAA Division I Softball National Championship and the WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship.
With his success, Walker has made visibility a cornerstone of his advocacy. Since becoming one of the first Division I coaches to come out publicly, Walker has found incredible acceptance and support from across the sports world.
“I discovered that athletics by and large is a far more accepting community than has ever been portrayed in the media,” he recently wrote. “I have witnessed more positive experiences within the athletic community. Uplifting stories of athletes, coaches, officials and other members of the sports community receiving powerful affirmation and acceptance after coming out.”
Walker spends much of his time building important support networks for LGBTQ athletes and coaches. He helps manage both GO! Athletes and the Equality Coaching Alliance, both of which help bridge gaps of solitude between LGBTQ people in sports.
He is also a very successful athlete, winning a national championship as a fast-pitch softball pitcher.
When he’s not coaching or playing softball, Walker can often be found spending time with his daughter, Ava. He currently lives in Beverly Glen.
Walker took some time off from his summer vacation at Bass Lake near Yosemite to answer some of our questions.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out professionally since 2005. The hardest person to tell was my sister, and professionally the hardest to tell was my softball team at Oregon State.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Former NFL player Dave Kopay.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
It would be on the beach in Hawaii.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Congressional term limits.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Michael Jackson passing away.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I added three people to GO! Space and the Equality Coaching Alliance on Facebook today.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would not choose to change my sexual orientation.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in a higher power in the universe.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Be consistent in our fight, and also in our acceptance of others.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
The people I love.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gay men are weak.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
It wasn’t all LGBT, but “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” I just loved Rupert Everett and Julia Roberts in that.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Winning another NCAA title, or an Olympic gold medal.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Value what I’m uniquely good at, instead of trying to do what others are good at.
Why Los Angeles?
Family, opportunity, weather and quality of life. When UCLA asked me to come back to coach the softball team in 2012, I couldn’t resist.