EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With the high school football season set to begin on Monday, Franklin head football coach Daren Walker is “unavailable” to coach the Cougars, El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) officials confirming to KTSM. EPISD did not give a reason as to why Walker will not be with the team when fall camp begins, and would not comment on if or when he could return, citing it as a “personnel matter.”

UPDATE: The family of Daren Walker reached out to KTSM following this story. According to the family, Walker is currently on medical leave and hopes to return to the team, but is focused on his health and taking it day-by-day.

Leigh McWhorter has been named the acting head coach at Franklin to start the 2021 season.

Walker took over the Franklin program in 2007 after winning 47 games at Chapin from 2000-2006. He has posted a record of 95-57 in 14 seasons as the Cougars head coach, including a 68-28 mark in District 1-6A play. Franklin posted two 10-win seasons (2011, 2012) under his guidance, four district championships, and three bi-district titles in his tenure.

McWhorter, who coached with Walker at Chapin and Franklin, will take over the Cougars’ program after spending the past five years as the offensive coordinator at Los Fresnos. McWhorter played wide receiver at UTEP from 1995-1998 and has made coaching stops at Chapin, Franklin, Andress, San Antonio Sam Houston, and Los Fresnos.