Hundreds fill the Wayne High gymnasium for the funeral of Jess "Scott" Jarrell on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at Wayne High School.

Tuesday evening, July 9, the Wayne County Board of Education meets and should take up the matter of renaming the Wayne High School football stadium or playing field after the late Scott Jarrell.

Barring any unforeseen revelations, honoring Jarrell in such a way is perfectly reasonable.

The field at Wayne High opened 51 years ago. It was a labor of love for Jarrell. According to Chris Dickerson, a Wayne alumnus and the primary backer of the renaming effort, Jarrell flattened the site, tilled it and sowed it. He maintained the field in playing condition even after he was no longer the coach.

Jarrell's last game as coach was about 35 years ago. That's a long, long time as measured in high school years, particularly in this age of consolidations. Other coaches have come and gone since Jarrell left. At the time, Jarrell had coached the Pioneers to more wins than any other coach in school history, although current coach Tom Harmon surpassed his mark a decade ago.

Sports traditions die hard. The community is as used to the name "Pioneer Field" or "Pioneer Stadium" as it is the red, black and white on Wayne High School athletic uniforms.

Newer traditions die hard, too, such as selling naming rights to sports facilities. Universities use naming rights as moneymakers. It's why Jack Cook, the longtime successful baseball coach at Marshall University, will have his name on a street beside the new baseball stadium being planned for Marshall instead of on the stadium itself. When big money talks, people listen.

That should not be an issue in high school sports, particularly at the level of Wayne High School and particularly when the work of someone such as Jarrell is considered.

Jarrell laid the foundation that other coaches have built on. Honoring him in some way at the field and the program his hands helped build is totally appropriate.

Jarrell isn't around to participate in this debate. His life ended Dec. 31, 2010, when Clinton Douglas Skeens, a former Wayne player whom Jarrell had coached, stabbed him more than 40 times at Jarrell's home. Jarrell was 73 years old. Skeens' motive was unknown, although robbery was suspected. Skeens was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

No one knows how Jarrell, an old-time coach who preached hard-hitting, defense-oriented football, would react to this possible honor, but the Wayne community has reacted with more than 4,000 signatures on a petition requesting the name change.

It's unknown why the Wayne County school board and administration are engaging in such slow-speed deliberations on the push to honor Jarrell. One problem may be with how to honor Harmon for his accomplishments once his coaching career ends. But that's a question for another time.

Whether it's "Scott Jarrell Field at Pioneer Stadium" or "Pioneer Field at Scott Jarrell Stadium," the name change is in order and should be approved before the 2019 season starts.

If the Wayne County Board of Education can't honor Jarrell in such a manner, who can it honor?


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