Rice University Owls track runner Darryl "Doc" King
Rice Athletic Hall of Fame
Black and white photograph of Rice University Owls track athlete Darryl 'Doc' King, class of 1979, headlining his achievement into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Below the picture is an explanation of how King got the determination and drive to become a track athlete who won three Southwest Conference championships and earned all-American honors. Caption reads: DARRYL “DOC” KING, ‘79 In athletics as well as life, overcoming hurdles has presented Darryl “Doc” King with a challenge from which he could not walk away. “If you say I can’t do something, I’m going to prove to you that I can,” said King, a standout in the 110-meter high hurdels at Rice from 1975-79. King has certainly proved many of his critics wrong en route to winning three consecutive Southwest Conference championships, earning all-America honors and becoming the first black track athlete ever to be inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. King’s first, and perhaps toughest critic, was his father Robert. A hard-working man not prone to shower praise liberally, Robert King instilled in Darryl and his brother Derek a steely sense of determination. “He was tough taskmaster,” King remembers. “We never got the type of approval that we thought we deserved. Whatever we did, he always thought we could do better.” King seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of his brother to Seton Hall University until, quite by accident, first-year assistant track coach Steve Straub came to visit on a winter afternoon in 1974. Straub had journeyed from Houston to Moorestown, N.J. to recruit another athlete when he learned of King’s potential from his high school coach. After a brief conversation, Straub offered him a scholarship and King, eager to get the best business education he could, readily accepted without ever visiting the Houston campus. The trip to Houston the following summer was the first time the 18-year old King had ever been on an airplane. More than 2,000 miles removed from friends and family, King felt isolated. He soon met former standout hurdler and Rice head coach (and current athletic director) Bobby May. While May, the 1964 NCAA champion in King’s event, was impressed with his new recruit, King was awed by his coach and surroundings. “I though I’ll never be able to measure up,” he remembered. A multi-sport star in high school, King had difficulty giving up football and basketball to concentrate solely on track. He joined the school’s intramural leagues, a fact which didn’t sit well with his coaches. The coaches were even more upset when they learned their prize hurdler had suffered a broken leg playing intramural football. He was ordered to stay away from the intramural playing fields. But King, never one to back down from a challenge, was back playing just a few weeks after having the cast removed from his leg. Straub noticed him one day and arranged a meeting with King and his father that would change the course of the hurdler’s career. “He was pretty tough on me,” King said of his dad’a words that fall weekend during his sophomore year. “After that I was determined to make my athletic career memorable.” With a newfound sense of discipline and dedication King set out to leave his imprint on Rice track and field history. He stunned the field later that spring to win the first of his three consecutive Southwest Conference championships. The next year King was again an underdog at the conference meet despite being the defending champion. Again he proved the critics wrong, winning his second title. A fierce competitor who was at his best in the big meets, he repeated the feat as a senior and earned all-America honors after finishing fourth in the NCAA Championships in a field that included future Olymipians Renaldo NeHemiah and Greg Foster. His SWC winning time of 13 years later. King’s determination was equally evident in the classroom, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics and managerial studies in just four years. After graduation, King turned his energies to coaching, spending two seasons as a assistant coach with the University of Arkansas before entering private business. Today, King works for Unisys Corporation in King of Prussia, Pa. and has begun a marketing service and consulting business known as King Enterprise. He was married in 1981 and he and wife Sheila have two children – Dara, six, and Danice, three.
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/63989
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