He doesn't like that label.
"There are a lot of interim coaches out there," he said. "They just don't know it. I look at this situation where people look at it as if I've been diagnosed with cancer. I've got six months to live. I've really flipped it and said, 'It's six months to give.' I'm head coach for the first time in the Big 12. I'm going to give everything I have to the University, to the players and the community of Lubbock. "
Walker and his players don't want the 2012-13 season to be defined by what happened in the fall, by something that's no longer under their control. They want to be remembered by their results and by the effort it took to get those.
Walker isn't concerned if he's the bridge between the past and the future. He can't fix the past. He can't manage the future. All he and the Red Raiders have is the present.
"That's why we don't focus on those things," Walker said. "I treat each day as a different day and try to become a better person, a better man, a better coach. It's about the journey because I don't know what the destination is going to be. All I know is I have to take each day as its own, so I wake up every day and try to make the program better. That's the journey."
The Red Raiders play different than they did last with Gillispie. Walker has taken bits of offense and defense and practice habits from his time working with Jay Wright at Villanova and Steve Alford at New Mexico, with Jan van Breda Kolff at Pepperdine and Vanderbilt and Steve Lappas at Villanova and UMass.
Texas Tech pressures teams on both ends. The offense averages 69.7 possessions per game, third-most in the Big 12, and the defense forces a conference-leading 8.6 steals per game.
"We're going to play a little more up tempo," he said. "That is my nature and personality."
The players have latched on to Walker's philosophy and persona, which was just what the program needed.
"He's positive and has good energy, good concepts and a good attitude," Crockett said. "His attitude is how we approach things. Sometimes in practice there are going to be things we don't want to do, but we have to have a good attitude about it and get through it."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.