Erie tabs Chris Walls as its next girls basketball coach

Veteran coach returns to Colorado to take over rising star program in Class 4A

The Erie girls basketball program has experienced a meteoric rise over the past several seasons and the responsibility of continuing that upward trend will now fall to a new coach.

The Erie athletics department announced last week that the school has hired Chris Walls to fill the vacant head coaching position for its girls basketball team. Under outgoing head coach Sarah Pfeifer, the Erie girls have improved their record from 6-18 in 2017-18, to 16-10 in 2018-19, and to 23-3 and a spot in the Class 4A Sweet 16 in 2019-20.

With the bulk of last winter’s roster returning for the upcoming school year, Walls said he is excited for the opportunity to keep the Tigers moving in the right direction.

“I wasn’t looking for just any coaching job,” Walls said. “I was looking for the right one, the right fit all the way around. I knew they had a great support system in Justin (Carpenter) and Matt (Buchler) and I had a chance to talk with the girls throughout the process. I really clicked with them. Everything about my coaching style and attitude seemed to line up with them. It was just the perfect storm of the right fit.”

Chris Walls

A Florida native, Walls has been coaching for over 20 years in several different states and has taken four teams from worst to first in their respective leagues. He is coming to Erie from Horizon Prep in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where he was director of athletics and coached the girls basketball team to a 21-3 record and the CIF San Diego Section semifinals in 2019-20.

During his most recent tenure in Colorado, Walls took over the Eagle Valley boys in 2015 after the Devils had posted a 0-20 record the year before and built the program up to a 14-10 playoff team in two seasons. During that 2016-17 campaign, the Devils made 21 3-pointers against Crested Butte, which is the sixth highest single game total in Colorado history. In 2018, they won a game 110-102 over Battle Mountain, a game that stands as the eighth-most combined points between two teams in state history.

Prior to his three years at Eagle Valley, Walls was working with former Duke University star Christian Laettner running training camps and clinics for basketball. As a coach, Walls said he likes to play an aggressive style of defense and empower players in ways that will help them succeed.

“I like to let players play to their strengths,” Walls said. “Coach Pfeifer, you can see what a great job she did already with the program. I’m just coming in and trying to sustain that and help the team continue to accomplish its goals.”

With a talented group that includes returning All-Region players Grace Moyers, Genevieve Gudino, Deb Altshuler, Anna Hefner and Edie Morrow and has lofty goals for 2020-21, Erie athletic director Justin Carpenter said Walls’ experience and track record made him the right choice to help write the next chapter for Erie girls basketball.

“We are excited to welcome coach Walls and his family back to Colorado and to the Erie High School family,” Carpenter said. “It was clear from the onset of our process that coach Walls is a kid-centered coach with a history of getting the most out of his teams and players. I’m excited to see what he can do with our group. They are extremely talented but they are also great people and extremely hard workers. We are excited about the future of Erie women’s basketball.”