|Florida Gators No. 64|
|Date of birth||March 14, 1915|
|Place of birth||Daytona Beach, Florida|
|Date of death||by March 5, 1944(aged 28)|
|Place of death||Rabaul, New Britain|
|Height||Script error: No such module "convert".|
|Weight||Script error: No such module "convert".|
|Career highlights and awards|
Walter "Tiger" Mayberry (March 14, 1915 – by March 5, 1944) was an American college football player. Mayberry was a prominent running back for the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida, inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1964. A triple-threat man, he also passed and punted. Playing defense as well, he posted multiple school records for interceptions. Mayberry was selected as a sixth round pick of the 1938 NFL Draft, but never played in the NFL. He was the first Gator drafted into the league.
University of Florida
Mayberry attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. At Florida, he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Mayberry started as a freshman in the fall of 1934. After playing freshman football for a season, he played for coach Josh Cody's varsity Florida Gators football team from 1935 to 1937. As was typical of the 1930s, he played both offense and defense. In three seasons of college football, he amassed 2,019 yards of total offense, including 713 yards passing and 1,306 yards rushing; on defense, he accumulated eleven interceptions. The eleven interceptions were a school record until broken by Bruce Bennett in 1965.
Scout Henry McLemore of the United Press once wrote in a piece on southern football: "And when the time comes to pick the outstanding players of the year it wouldn't be a bad idea to mention "Tiger" Mayberry, captain and halfback of Florida's team . . . given a stronger eleven to work with, and Mayberry would be in the headlines Saturday after Saturday." McLemore later added "I have not seen a better back in six years than Mayberry . . . Wallace Wade, Bernie Moore, and Harry Mehre all told me that Mayberry was the best back in the South, one of the best they have seen in half a dozen years and certainly the best that Florida has produced in a decade." Another writer quipped, "The south says: All-America scouts should keep an eye on "Tiger" Mayberry, Florida back . . . The guy has it."
As the senior team captain in 1937, Mayberry intercepted six passes when the Gators' opponents only threw 57 balls, and was a first-team All-SEC selection by the conference coaches and sportswriters on behalf of the Associated Press. The 1937 team defeated Georgia in the two schools' rivalry game for the first time in eight years. Mayberry also starred in a close loss to Pop Warner's Temple Owls. He kept the 10,000 spectators "in an uproar for nearly three periods."
In the 1938 NFL Draft, Mayberry was taken with the 61st overall pick, the first of the eighth round, by the Cleveland Rams. He said he would play professional football if the Rams made him an offer he considered "worthwhile." "If the offer is right I will sign to play pro football next year." said Mayberry."
World War II
He enlisted in World War 2 at Atlanta on May 23, 1941 in the U. S. Naval Reserve and was assigned to flight training. He transferred to Pensacola as an aviation cadet near the end of '41, and joined the Marine Corps reserve as a fighter pilot on July 2, 1942 and was later sent to San Francisco and from there to the Pacific Theater. He fought with the VMF-123. Mayberry was credited with downing three enemy Japanese planes in battle over Vella Lavella Island. Some sources also say it was four, with a fifth as probable.
After his plane was shot down, he died in a Japanese POW camp at Rabaul in New Britain of Papau New Guinea some time after September 6, 1943. He last radioed as headed for a stretch of water between two Solomon islands, and was shot down on August 30 near Bougainville Island. Japanese records say he died in an Allied air raid on March 5, 1944, but some other records suggest he was executed by the Japanese at an earlier date.
- "All-American Team Selected". Washington C. H. Record-Herald. December 4, 1937. p. 9. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication - free to read
- John Wilds (September 14, 1937). "Josh Cody Builds For Next Season". The Evening Independent.
- Buddy Martin. The Boys from Old Florida:Inside Gator Nation. p. 23.
- Jim Folsom (August 5, 2014). "Athletes Who Played Their Part in WWII".
- Bernard Kahn. "U. of Florida Alumni Create W. Mayberry Scholarship". Daytona Beach Morning Journal.
- Joe Williams. "Marine Corps League hosts 'Fallen Heroes' author".
- "Norm Carlson Looks Back".
- Ernie Couch. SEC Football Trivia. p. 51.
- High Scorer Missing. Sigma Phi Epsilon Journal. February 1944. pp. 146–147.
- 2014 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 103, 106, 115, 158, 180 (2014). Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- Henry McLemore (October 19, 1937). "Southern Football Notes By Scout Henry McLemore of UP". Dunkirk Evening Observer. p. 15. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication - free to read
- Maxwell Stiles (February 1938). "The 1937 All-Sig Ep Football Team". Sigma Phi Epsilon Journal: 192–195.
- Eddie Brietz (October 22, 1937). "Birdseye View of Sports Events". Kingston Daily Freeman. p. 18. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication - free to read
- Frank S. Wright (October 19, 1937). "Writers, Coaches Praise Mayberry, Gator Captain, As All-American Material". Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
- "Versatility, Great Power Represented". The Monroe News-Star. December 3, 1937. p. 10. Retrieved May 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication - free to read
- Marty Cohen (1995). Gator Tales. p. 31.
- "Florida Beaten By Temple Club On Extra Point". The Evening News. October 9, 1937. p. 13. Retrieved May 29, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication - free to read
- "Tiger Mayberry May Play With Cleveland Rams". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 11, 1937.
- Bruce Gamble (2013). Target: Rabaul: The Allied Siege of Japan's Most Infamous Stronghold. pp. 421–422.
- "Walter Mayberry of Football Fame Listed As Missing". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. September 7, 1943.
- "Walt Mayberry, Ex-Gator Grid Star Missing". St. Petersburg Times. September 10, 1943.
- "Ex-Gridster Missing". Marine Corps Chevron 3 (39). September 30, 1944.
- Robbie Andreu. "No. 39 Walter Mayberry".