"He's very compassionate and caring and he has a way of making you do what he wants you to do. People in Walt's position who have done things like that, they don't realize the effect they have on people. If Walt was a jerk, it would be easier to let it go. When you respect and care for someone and this happens, the effect is longer lasting. You wonder why it happened. And why you let it happen."
A player from the late 1980s recalls that Ker established exceptionally close ties with her.
"I entrusted him with when to study, when to practice, when to eat," she said. "You become completely dependent. He became a father figure. He was almost on a pedestal."
After her freshman season, she told The Times that he abused that trust by making unwelcome sexual advances toward her.
"He took advantage of people so they didn't have a clear head," she said. "He's like a magnet. People wanted to be close to him."
One of the former players who had a sexual relationship with Ker recalls that she was flattered by his initial approach.
"Everyone he has approached was a bit flattered, initially, because we've known him for several years and trusted and liked him," she said. "And when any man or person you trust to such an extent expresses interest, your initial reaction is flattery, and a lot of shock, at the same time."
The player said she assumed she was the only member of the team who was sexually involved with Ker.
"Walt makes it clear that this should be kept private," she said. "That's why a lot of players didn't know it happened to each other."
Even those closest to Ker, including Price, were surprised when they learned of the allegations. They say they had no hint of Ker's alleged misconduct.
Erin Tomblin, the team's top assistant last fall, was one of more than a dozen people interviewed for this story who said they were stunned by the charges filed by 1992 team members. Tomblin, who said she believes the players' allegations, criticized herself for being unaware of the players' complaints.
"I'm upset that I didn't realize it was happening," she said. "I honestly had no idea this was happening."
Current and former players say Ker often referred to sex and joked about it. Yet, they assert, he kept his involvement with players a secret by relying on their loyalty to him.
One of the former players who said she had a sexual relationship with Ker believes the two players filed a complaint against Ker after they realized they weren't alone as targets, thus breaking the code of secrecy.
"When they got together, it became more clear that what was going on was wrong," she said. "It took extremely courageous people to do that. If it were two different people, he might still be coaching at Northridge."
One of the players on the '92 team who brought the sexual harassment complaint against Ker said she was hesitant to report his alleged misconduct because of its potential effect on his career and his marriage. She said she waited almost a year to report his actions to the university's Committee to Receive Allegations of Sexual Harassment.
"Nothing would have happened to him if it wasn't for my strong belief that this shouldn't go on," she said. "He would have stayed and kept doing it. He's not going to do it any more."
Born in Tracy, Calif., in 1953, Ker grew up in the San Fernando Valley where his father, George, was the Valley College football coach from 1956-63 and the track and field coach until the mid-1980s.
At Granada Hills High, Ker earned seven varsity letters, including three each in basketball and track and field.
"He was one of the great kids, one of the All-American kids," said Granada Hills High basketball Coach Bob Johnson, who taught Ker at Patrick Henry Junior High and coached him at Granada Hills.
"He was an outstanding athlete. A hard worker. You can't say enough good things about him."
Ker played basketball and volleyball at Valley College and Northridge and founded the boys' volleyball program at Granada Hills.
From 1977 to '79, Ker coached the men's volleyball team at CSUN and from '79 to '85 he coached the men's and women's teams, posting a 137-114-1 record in nine years as men's coach.
He coached only the women for an additional eight seasons and finished with a 401-143 record, including three Division II national championships and five runners-up finishes.
Ron Yukelson, who worked closely with Ker from 1980-85 as Northridge sports information director, said that Ker was dedicated, hard-working and loyal.
"I saw Walt as a compassionate, humanistic person but one who you knew was the coach of the team," Yukelson said.
"My sense was that Walt was a lot closer to his teams than other coaches I worked with. He was able to bridge the fine line between coaching and friendship."
Andy Banachowski, coach of three Division I national championship teams at UCLA, was impressed by the rapid transition Northridge made from the Division II to the Division I ranks in 1990.