MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (September 10, 2001)—Milligan’s longtime Athletic Director Duard Walker, who retired in May after a 50-year career, will be named the “National Athletics Director of the Year” by the NAIA-ADA at a Sept. 17 award ceremony. The award recognizes Walker for his superior leadership and guidance to the region and nation.
Representing Region XII of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Walker was selected over representatives from 13 other regions in the United States and Canada to receive the national award. The decision was made by a group of Walker’s peers – a panel of athletics directors from the Athletics Directors Association (ADA).
In his 50 years at Milligan, Walker served in various roles, including athletics director, coach, resident director, and on the faculty. He coached baseball, basketball, cross-country, track and field, and completed his 26th year coaching tennis in May. He saw many of his teams win conference championships, including seven consecutive VSAC (Volunteer State Athletic Conference) titles in cross-country from 1962-68.
Walker’s influence extended beyond the college into the region and nation. As an official with the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association, he refereed high school and college football games for 36 years. He has been an official in the Senior Citizen Olympics and has shown his own athletic prowess in recent years by winning gold, silver, and bronze medals in singles and doubles badminton at the State Games of Tennessee’s “Sportsfest.”
In recognition of Walker’s contributions to local athletics, he has been inducted into the Northeast Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and became one of the inaugural members of the Milligan College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1986, Milligan College presented him with the Fide et Amore award for his longstanding faith and service to the college.
A legendary figure on Milligan’s campus and in the world of athletics, Walker was featured last year in a lengthy Sports Illustrated article by one of the magazine’s senior writers, E. M. Swift.
The National Athletics Director of the Year award ceremony will take place at the 2001 NAIA National Convention held in St. Louis, Mo. Coach Walker will be honored at a special luncheon on Monday, Sept. 17, at 12:00 noon in the Hawthorne Salon at the Marriott Pavilion Hotel.