Peahead Walker
Biographical details
Born(1899-02-17)February 17, 1899
Ensley, Alabama
DiedJuly 16, 1970(1970-07-16) (aged 71)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Playing career
Baseball
1921Wilson Bugs
1923Wilson Bugs
1924Norfolk Tars
1924Rochester Tribe
1925Norfolk Tars
1927Wilson Bugs
1928–1929York White Roses
1930Bloomington Cubs
1930Decatur Commodores
1931Winston-Salem Twins
1932Wilmington Pirates
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Football
1926Atlantic Christian
1927–1936Elon
1937–1950Wake Forest
1951Yale (assistant)
1952–1959Montreal Alouettes
Basketball
1927–1937Elon
Baseball
1928–1937Elon
1937–1939Snow Hill Billies
Head coaching record
Overall127–93–10 (college football)
124–84 (college basketball)
124–61 (college baseball)
59–48–1 (CFL)
Bowls1–1
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Football
4 North State (1933–1936)

Douglas Clyde "Peahead" Walker (February 17, 1899 – July 16, 1970) was an American football and baseball player, and coach of American football, Canadian football, basketball, and baseball. Walker served as the head football coach at Atlantic Christian College—now Barton College—in 1926, at Elon University from 1927 to 1936, and at Wake Forest University from 1937 to 1950, compiling a career college football record of 127–93–10. At Elon, Walker was also the head basketball coach (1927–1937) and the head baseball coach (1928–1937). In 1952 Walker moved to the Canadian Football League (CFL) to become the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes. He remained with the team until 1959, tallying a mark of 59–48–1 in eight seasons. Walker also played minor league baseball with a number of clubs between 1921 and 1932. He managed the Snow Hill Billies of the Coastal Plain League from 1937 to 1939.

Early life

Walker was born on February 17, 1899 in Birmingham, Alabama.[1] He was the second of nine children born to Zachary T. and Miriam Walker. Walker's birth name was Daniah Clyde Walker. He changed his first name to Douglas while in college, but was known for most his life by his colorful nickname, which he acquired by the time he was a teenager.[2] Walker briefly attended Birmingham College (later Birmingham Southern) then enrolled at Howard College in Birmingham.[3] Though Walker played four seasons of varsity sports at Howard, he did not receive a degree from the college. He did complete college work and received a degree from Elon College while he was working there as a coach, graduating with the class of 1931.,[4] After leaving Howard and Birmingham, Walker began his professional baseball career. In the off-season he taught and coached at high schools in West Point, Ga. and in Roanoke, Ala, from 1922-25. Walker also wed his first wife, Carolyne, at about this time. They had two children, D.C. Jr., and Walter Hill Walker, both born during his high school coaching days.[5]

Baseball

Walker played minor league baseball in parts of eleven seasons spanning 1921 to 1932. Primarily a shortstop, he also played at second base and third base. He posted a career .300 batting average and 30 home runs in 1078 games. Notably, he batted over .320 four times, with a career-high of .338 in 1928 with the York White Roses.[1]

From 1937 to 1939 he managed the Snow Hill Billies of the Class D Coastal Plain League, leading them to the playoffs twice and to one league championship.[1]

Football

Walker's coaching career began in 1926 at Atlantic Christian College, today known as Barton College, in Wilson, North Carolina, where he also played professional baseball for the Wilson Bugs of the Virginia League. In his one year as head football coach, Walker was 6–1–1 and his "Little Christians" (later, "Bulldogs") were scored upon only once. He also had success with the Atlantic Christian basketball and baseball teams.

Next, in 1927, Walker accepted the position of head coach of all three major teams at Elon College (now Elon University) near Burlington, North Carolina. He coached at Elon for ten seasons, earning a 44–41–4 record and winning four North State Conference championships.[6]

Walker coached at Wake Forest University from 1937 to 1950. He compiled a record of 77–51–6 during his 14 years at the school and led the Deacons to two bowl games, a win over South Carolina in the inaugural Gator Bowl in 1946[7] and a 20–7 loss to Baylor in the 1949 Dixie Bowl. He is tied with Jim Grobe as the program's winningest head coach.

Walker left Wake in the spring of 1951 over a salary dispute with the college's new president, Harold Tribble. Following Wake Forest's superb 1950 football season, in which the Deacons went 6–1–2 and narrowly missed winning the Southern Conference championship, the athletic committee of the Wake Forest College Board of Trustees approved a contract extension, and a raise in Walker's annual salary from $7,500 per year to $9,000. The committee action occurred in December, but by when March rolled around President Tribble still had not approved it. Walker attempted to use a coaching offer from Yale University as leverage to force Tribble's hand, but Tribble called his bluff, offering a raise to $8,000 — or exactly what Yale had offered Walker to work as an assistant under Walker's long-time friend, Herman Hickman. Believing Tribble had gone back on a handshake deal, and miffed at the low-ball offer, Walker accepted the Yale position, ending the tenure of Wake Forest's most successful football coach.[8]

After one year at Yale, he replaced the retiring Lew Hayman as the second head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. There he had a 59–48–1 record in eight seasons and won four division titles before retiring after 1959 season. After his retirement he became a scout for the New York Giants. He was elected into the Wake Forest Athletics Hall of Fame after his death in 1970.[9]

Later life and death

One of Walker's longtime friends was Arnold Palmer, who Walker tried to recruit to his football team while Palmer was at Wake Forest.

Walker died of a stroke on July 16, 1970 in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the age of 71.[1][10]

Head coaching record

College football

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Atlantic Christian Bulldogs (Independent) (1926)
1926 Atlantic Christian 6–1–1
Atlantic Christian: 6–1–1
Elon Fightin' Christians (Independent) (1927–1929)
1927 Elon 3–4–1
1928 Elon 2–7
1929 Elon 5–3
Elon Fightin' Christians (North State Conference) (1930–1936)
1930 Elon 6–3 4–1 2nd
1931 Elon 3–5 2–1 T–2nd
1932 Elon 2–6 0–3 T–5th
1933 Elon 5–3–1 2–0–1 1st
1934 Elon 6–2–1 3–0–1 T–1st
1935 Elon 6–3 3–0 1st
1936 Elon 6–5 3–0 1st
Elon: 44–41–3 17–5–2
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Southern Conference) (1937–1950)
1937 Wake Forest 3–6 1–4 T–13th
1938 Wake Forest 4–5–1 3–4–1 9th
1939 Wake Forest 7–3 3–3 T–7th
1940 Wake Forest 7–3 4–2 3rd
1941 Wake Forest 5–5–1 4–2–1 7th
1942 Wake Forest 6–2–1 6–1–1 3rd
1943 Wake Forest 4–5 3–2 4th
1944 Wake Forest 8–1 6–1 2nd
1945 Wake Forest 5–3–1 4–1–1 2nd W Gator 19
1946 Wake Forest 6–3 2–3 T–11th
1947 Wake Forest 6–4 3–4 10th
1948 Wake Forest 6–4 5–2 5th L Dixie 20
1949 Wake Forest 4–6 3–3 T–9th
1950 Wake Forest 6–1–2 6–1–1 4th
Wake Forest: 77–51–6 53–33–5
Total: 127–93–10
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Douglas Walker". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Tucker (2016). Peahead! Life and Times of a Southern-Fried Coach. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Library Partners Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-61846-019-6.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Tucker (2016). Peahead! Life and Times of a Southern-Fried Coach. Winston-Salem, S.C.: Library Partners Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-61846-019-6.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Tucker (2016). Peahead! Life and Times of a Southern-Fried Coach. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Library Partners Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-61846-019-6.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Tucker (2016). Peahead! Life and Times of a Southern-Friend Coach. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Library Partners Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 978-1-61846-019-6.
  6. ^ "Douglas Clyde "Pea Head" Walker Records by Year". cfbdatawarehouse.com. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  7. ^ "Gator Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2005". Gator Bowl Association. December 12, 2005. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  8. ^ Mitchell, Tucker (2016). Peahead! Life and Times of Southern-Friend Coach. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Library Partners Press. pp. 350–55. ISBN 978-1-61846-019-6.
  9. ^ "Athletics Hall of Fame". Traditions. Wake Forest Athletics. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  10. ^ "Stroke Claims Walker". TimesDaily. Associated Press. July 17, 1970. Retrieved December 24, 2013.