It’s been 40 years since Phillip Fulmer played football at the University of Tennessee. Still, the former UT head coach can close his eyes and vividly picture teammate Jackie Walker dominating opponents.
“Jackie was one of those guys who had the knack for making the big play,” Fulmer said. “He was a great practice player. And in games, he was even better. He was truly deserving of all the accolades he received as a football player. He was a heck of a person as well.”
Walker will be inducted posthumously into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 11 during a banquet at the Renaissance Hotel. The former star linebacker died in 2002 at age 51, but in life he was a groundbreaking figure who challenged people’s perceptions on race and sexual orientation.
“I’m proud of this induction,” said Walker’s older brother, Marshall, 62. “Every day I wish he was living. We were really, really close. I think about him all the time. I’m happy for him, and hopefully I can share his words at the banquet.”