Year Inducted: 2016
Category: Player & Coach
Duard B. Walker Sr. was born in Piney Flats, Tennessee. After achieving academic success and playing an active role in sports in high school, he entered East Tennessee State University and played baseball. He transferred to Milligan College the next year and played several sports. As World War II was then underway, he was assigned to the Navy V-12 Officer Training program at Milligan. He later participated in the battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
After three years in the Navy, he returned to Milligan in 1946, where he is the only person to have earned 12 varsity letters in five sports. He was also awarded the Scholar Athlete Trophy. He met Carolyn Roberts, and they married in 1947. After graduating in 1948 and completing his Master’s Degree at Columbia University, he taught and coached for two years at Knoxville Farragut High School.
He returned to Milligan in 1951 to teach and coach. Through the years, he taught health and physical education and coached baseball, basketball, track, cross country and tennis. He was also athletic director, Dean of Men and head resident of the boys’ dorm.
Walker received Milligan’s highest honor, the Fide et Amore medallion for Distinguished Service. He was also an inaugural member of the Milligan Hall of Fame, a distinguished Milligan alumni, the 2001 NAIA National Athletic Director, a inductee into the 2008 class of the NAIA Hall of Fame and the Carter County Hall of Fame and the Northeast Tennessee Hall of Fame. Today, The Appalachian Athletic Conference has the Duard Walker All Sports Trophy in his honor. In December of 2000 Sports Illustrated featured him with an article entitled, “Like a Rock,” detailing his life and legacy.
Actively involved in Hopwood Christian Church, he has served in several capacities. His outreach to community includes: Little league coach, President of the Optimist Club, TSSAA basketball and football official and serving as the Northeast Tennessee TSSAA Football Commissioner. His participation in the Senior Games led his team to a National 3rd place in badminton. At age 91, he won gold in the 100 and 50 yard dashes, shot put, discus, javelin, softball throw, long jump and pickleball. In leading by example, Duard’s students realized what he taught went beyond academics and sports. He taught them about life and having the character and integrity to be the best they could be. In August, Duard and Carolyn will celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary with their five children, all of them Milligan graduates.