|Date of birth:||September 30, 1936|
|Place of birth:||Boise, Idaho, U.S.|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school:||Boise (ID)|
|NFL draft:||1958 / Round: 4 / Pick: 45|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Wayne Harrison Walker (born September 30, 1936) is a former professional football player and sports broadcaster. He played in the NFL for fifteen seasons, from 1958 to 1972 for the Detroit Lions. A starter throughout his career, #55 played in 200 regular season games as a 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 225 lb (102 kg) outside linebacker, the second most for a defensive player at the time.
Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Walker graduated from Boise High School in 1954. He passed on an offer to play professional baseball in order to play college football at the University of Idaho, as a center and middle linebacker for new head coach Skip Stahley. In his senior season in 1957, he served as a team captain. In that era, Idaho was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference, the forerunner of the Pac-12. Walker's teammate (and road roommate) at Idaho was Jerry Kramer of Sandpoint, a future All-Pro offensive lineman (right guard) with the Green Bay Packers. Both players were selected for the East-West Shrine Game, the College All-Star Game (vs. the 1957 NFL champs (Detroit Lions) at Soldier Field in summer 1958; defeating the Lions 35-19), and in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft. They were both drafted by the pros in the top 50. In the East-West Shrine Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Walker had fifteen tackles, two interceptions, and blocked a kick. He was voted the outstanding defensive player of the game. While at Idaho, Walker was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Walker was the 45th overall pick of the 1958 NFL Draft (Kramer was the 39th), held on December 2, 1957 (first four rounds). Both Walker (#53) and Kramer (#64) had their numbers retired at Idaho, and both would serve, in mid-career, as placekickers for their respective NFL teams. In college, Walker was the long snapper on the kicks, with Kramer handling the placekicking for the Vandals.
An unenviable record
As a placekicker, Walker is ranked last (151st of 151) in all-time field goal percentage. He made 53 of 131 attempts (40.5%); on extra points he was 172 of 175 (98.3%).
After his retirement from the NFL, Walker was the sports director for KPIX-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco for twenty years, from 1974 to 1994, where he succeeded Barry Tompkins. He was also a sports commentator for the San Francisco 49ers' radio broadcasts for over twenty years and a commentator on Oakland Athletics baseball broadcasts from 1976 to 1980 and in 1985. He also broadcast regional NFL games for several years on CBS. Walker retired from broadcasting in 1999 and he and his wife Sylvia have resided in the Boise area since 1994.
As a teenage outfielder in the early 1950s, Walker often played baseball against Harmon Killebrew, the future hall-of-famer who grew up in Payette, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Boise. The two were the same age (Killebrew was three months older) and were friends for over half a century. They worked together on baseball broadcasts of the Oakland Athletics in 1979.
Diagnosed with throat cancer in June 2007, Walker lost 60 pounds (27 kg) after chemotherapy and radiation treatment. As of 2009 he was healthy again and had regained most of the lost weight. On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Walker was suffering from Parkinson's disease, possibly as a result of the concussions he suffered during his playing days.
- ESPN.com - NFL Draft 2010 - "Idaho's '58 Specials" - 2010-04-14
- "Former Idaho great, Wayne Walker, retires". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. January 19, 1973. p. 21.
- "Three Vandals play in East-West game". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1958. p. 133.
- "Phi Delta Theta". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1957. p. 217.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame -1958 NFL Draft - accessed 2011-07-23
- SF Gate.com – 'Time goes by fast' in retirement - catching up with Wayne Walker – 2009-06-04
- SF Gate.com - Wayne Walker's Idaho link to Harmon Killebrew – 2011-05-22
- Idaho Statesman.com
- Great Linebackers of the NFL, 1970, Richard Kaplan, ISBN 0-394-80152-0
- Detroit Lions.com — Wayne Walker
- Wayne Walker's NFL statistics
- Local Emmy award — S.F. Bay area
- University of Idaho - Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame — Wayne Walker
- Boise High School — Hall of Fame - Wayne Walker
- on YouTube
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • Pro-Football-Reference • Databasefootball.com