Northeast Tennessee

“Coach” Duard Walker

Northeast Tennessee Johnson City The Range (Science Hill)

4 Pax showed up to put in some work.  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a man of faithfulness, Duard “Coach” Walker (Oct. 13, 1924-August 18, 2020), a longtime coach, teacher, and administrator at Milligan University.  I had the pleasure of attending Hopwood Memorial Christian Church with Duard and his wife Carolyn for a few years while I was a student and for the last decade since we have lived back here in TN.  A father of 5 and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, a longtime elder at Hopwood, a mentor to many, and a WWII Veteran, Coach was a great man.  More information about Duard’s 50 year career at Milligan and 95 year life of faithfulness is in the moleskin, including a few links and photos.


  • Side Straddle Hops x 25 IC
  • Willie Mays Hayes 10 Count each side
  • Little Baby Arm Circles x 25 F&B
  • Imperial Walkers x 25 IC

Mosey to upper parking lot for part and then over to circular track near tennis courts.

Some Basketball, Baseball, Track/Cross County themed exercises to remember Duard’s many years of coaching and playing these sports.  The number 50 was a focus to recognize the 5 decades that Coach Walker served at Milligan (1951-2001).

  • Sprints-one set of lines across parking lot
  • Wall sits, 2 rounds of 50 seconds each
  • Squats-50 second hold
  • Seal Claps x 25 IC
  • 50 Overhead Press IC
  • Windmills x 25 IC
  • 50 Lunges
  • Mosey 1 lap around track
  • 19 Merkins followed by 24 V ups in honor of 1924, the year coach was born
  • 19 Merkins followed by 42 little baby crunches in honor of 1942, the year that coach came to Milligan as a sophomore student.  As we caught our breath I shared with the guys that during the early 1940’s Milligan was converted into a school that exclusively trained officers for the US military.  In 1944 coach became an ensign on the USS Newberry and served in the Pacific theatre at two famous battles (Iwo Jima and Okinawa).  His brother Norman was killed during his service.

Mosey to Freedom Hall.  In honor of my freshman year at Milligan where I lived on the 3rd floor of Webb Hall (2000-2001) which happened to be Duard’s last year of 50 years serving as the Resident Director, we saw how many times we could do a stair lap in 50 seconds.  We got about 1 1/2 laps.

Mixed into our mosey back we did some Frankensteins, bear crawling, and 50 cumulative WWI sit ups.

I shared this reflection that my pastor Tim Ross wrote about Coach a few weeks back. 

“As I was rummaging around the back of a closet looking for a jacket, I found this nearly forgotten piece of history, Duard Walker’s foul-weather coat from his WWII Navy days in the Pacific. Painted on the back in fading letters it reads: ‘Torpedo Control.’

Long ago Duard brought the coat to my office and asked if I wanted it or maybe could donate it to the clothes pantry at ARM. I put it away in the closet, for the day when I would return it to his kids. Tomorrow I will meet some family members to return their dad’s coat.

But first I buried my face in this coat and inhaled deeply, trying to catch the scent of the man. I pictured him as a young officer, far away from home, eager for a glimpse of these mountains. I reached into his coat pocket, and pulled out two tickets to a football game at Memorial Stadium on November 22, 1947. Lees-McCrae was playing some other school… Milligan? It cost a buck to get in. I guess by that time maybe the jacket wasn’t enough to get someone into the event free of charge…maybe if he had walked in backward Mr.Torpedo Control would have raised some eyebrows. But he wasn’t that kind of guy.

Duard was 23 years old when he attended that ball game in 1947. He had lost his brother Norman in the War. Two years prior he participated in the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Duard came home from the war in 1946. He was a student at Milligan in 1947. By that November day, Duard and Carolyn had been married for two months. In six months he and Carolyn would be named May King and Queen at Milligan. Soon after that he would graduate from college.

It must have been cold on that November day in 1947, maybe even a foul- weather day. But in my imagination, those tickets mark a turning, away from the perils and pain of war, toward a future that was yet to be. I’m glad we got to share some of that future with him.”

My parting words to the Pax were that we as a society are getting a bit better at recognizing the faithfulness and sacrifices that soldiers make to serve their loved ones and their country, but that was only a very small part of Duard’s life of faithfulness.  May each of us strive to be faithful in all of our relationships and lives of service to others just as Coach did during his life. And let’s encourage one another and keep one another accountable to this noble goal.

A 2001 Sports Illustrated Article reflecting on Duard’s career:

The Johnson City Press article announcing his death less than six weeks ago:

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