Darrell Walker, head coach of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock men’s basketball team, has been named an inductee for the 2018 Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
Walker will join the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony on Oct. 27 at the Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock, which will offer a variety show featuring comedy, dance, and music.
Walker has dedicated his life to Arkansas basketball, playing at the University of Arkansas and now coaching at UA Little Rock. Walker brings with him extensive basketball experience at both the collegiate and professional level. His playing experience includes three years at the University of Arkansas and 10 seasons in the National Basketball Association, followed by a 20-year professional coaching career, including serving as head coach for two different NBA franchises.
Walker earned his degree in human resources from the University of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was enshrined into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor in 2008.
A native of Chicago, Walker played one season at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith before spending three seasons at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Under head coach Eddie Sutton, Walker amassed 1,325 points, ranking 18th all-time on the Razorback scoring list, while ranking fourth in program steals (230) and sixth in free throws made (524).
He was named a second team All-American and a first team National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District selection in 1983, helping Arkansas reach the Sweet 16 in both 1981 and 1983. Walker was the two-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, being named to the 1983 NABC All-Star game.
Walker was the 12th overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 1983 NBA draft, beginning a 10-year NBA career in which he suited up for five different teams. Walker averaged 8.9 points, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game during his professional career, playing for NBA Hall of Fame coaches Hubie Brown, Wes Unseld, Chuck Daly and Phil Jackson.
Walker described his years at UA as important to his learning to become a man. He’s been living in Little Rock since 1983. Although born in Chicago, Walker now calls himself a “native son” of Arkansas.
“I’ve tried to always be an ambassador for the state of Arkansas,” Walker said.
Walker will be joined by five other inductees, including Kevin Cole, celebrated painter, printmaker, and sculptor; Brent Jennings, a film and stage actor and director; Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the U.S. Army deputy chief of staff for logistics at the Pentagon; Florence Price, the first black woman recognized as a symphonic composer and to have a composition played by a major orchestra; and Mary Louise Williams, an education advocate and sorority and political leader.
The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame was established in 1992. Walker and the other inductees will join the Hall of Fame’s more than 140 members. The organization generally inducts five living black Arkansans and one posthumous honoree each year. This year’s posthumous honor went to Price, who died in 1953. Two of Price’s descendants will accept the award on her behalf, and a string quartet will perform some of her music. Price regained national prominence after a person in Chicago found a collection of her work while renovating a home.
Price also was a recipient of the Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellow Award earlier this year after Linda Holzer, a UA Little Rock professor of music, campaigned for Price to receive the award from the national organization after the state organization, the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association, denied Price entry due to her race nearly a century ago.