Percy Morris Beard was born January 18, 1908 in Hardinsburg, Kentucky.
He went to Auburn University from 1925 to 1929. In his junior and senior years he began winning championships as a world-class hurdler. He set several records between 1928 and 1935.
Upon graduation in 1929 he remained at Auburn to teach engineering, meanwhile continuing to train and to compete for the New York Athletic Club. In 1932 he won the silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, finishing second to George Saling.
Beard won the AAU 60-meter hurdles indoor title in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1935; and the AAU 110-meter hurdles outdoor title in 1931, 1934, and 1935.
After leaving Auburn, Beard became the men's track coach at the University of Florida in Gainesville, starting with the 1937 track season and remaining through the 1964 season, coaching the team to Southeastern Conference titles in 1953 and 1956.
Beard founded the Florida Relay in 1939. The meet was originally held at Graham Field, but was moved to a new University of Florida track facility in 1959, where Beard and the Gators had built a pioneering new all-weather surface track.
Beard also invented the brushed cement shot and discus ring used throughout the world. These inventions have contributed to great improvements in track records.
At the 1973 Florida Relays this track was renamed the Percy M. Beard Track. It remains the home of University of Florida track and field.
He passed away March 27, 1990.