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Durward Buck

Inducted 2009

Ask anyone who has played high school sports in Polk County over the past 20 years, and they will remember Durward Buck. Although he retired in 2007, he continues to cover prep sports with passion and enthusiasm.

Buck has covered high school sports for The Ledger in Lakeland since 1987. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he began his career as a prep sports writer for the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News from 1958-63. He became prep sports editor of the Morganton (N.C.) News Herald in 1963, and held the position for 14 years before moving to the Johnson City (Tenn.) Press. Buck moved to Florida in 1981 to work for the Winter Haven News-Chief as a page editor for six years before joining the Ledger staff as prep editor, where he remained for the next 20 years.

Buck covered all aspects of prep sports in Florida, from participating in state polls to covering state championships and FHSAA Board of Directors meetings. He campaigned through his columns for changes such as the 2.0 grade point average required for participation, noting that a large percentage of athletes were not qualifying for college under the 1.5 grade point average requirement. Buck also campaigned in the early 1990s to have football games start at 7:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. to avoid students leaving stadiums during dangerous driving hours; the change was made first in Polk County, and then in the rest of the state.

He is a member of the Florida Sports Writers Association, and was named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Writer of the Year in 1995 and a winner of the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame Media Award.