New Santa Fe Catholic head football coach has Polk County ties as player and as coach

Gabe Walker never really thought about becoming a football coach until around his junior year of college when his older brother got into coaching. The more they talked, the more it inspired him to get pursue a coaching career.

Walker now has his first opportunity as a head coach as the playcaller at Santa Fe Catholic. He replaces Clint Miller who resigned last November after two seasons.

“I’m excited about the atmosphere,” said Walker, who served as an offensive coordinator at Foundation Academy in Winter Garden last season. “We live and breathe football in Polk County. In Orange County, we play a solid brand of football, but the brand of football we play here is more physical, more toughness, old fashioned in how It’s played rather the finesse that’s played in Orlando and Orange County.”

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New Santa Fe Catholic High School football coach Gabriel Walker in Lakeland Fl. Tuesday February 27, 2024. Ernst Peters/The Ledger

Walker is no stranger to Polk County or Santa Fe Catholic. During a semester off from college he was a Santa Fe assistant coach under Joe Faiola in 2018. As a student, he attended Lakeland as a freshman in 2012-13 before transferring to Foundation. He was a three-time, first-team, all-district selection as a running back and a two-time, second-team all-state selection. He rushed for 1,429 yards in one season and finished his career with 3,803 yards.

For college, Walker attended The Citadel and graduated from Savannah State in 2021.

Walker became aware of the opening at Santa Fe on the FHSAA website and initially talked to Faiola about it, and Faiola.

“He said, ‘I think it will be a good look,’ and I said I…


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