It's official - Wildcat Stadium will now be home to Phil Danaher Field.
Trustees for the Calallen Independent School District on Monday voted to dedicate the field to the district's longtime athletic director and head football coach. However, the move was met with some opposition by members of the community and school district.
Calallen resident David Curtis said he felt it was inappropriate to name a facility or field after an individual who was still working for the school district.
"Until more contemporary times, the renaming of buildings and venues has been one that has been bestowed upon someone who has left us unexpectedly, and by that I mean passed on," Curtis said. "I think you should keep the name of the stadium as it is now."
Jacob Collier, a student at Calallen High School, agreed with Curtis's stance, adding that the field represents more than just the accomplishments of one individual.
"I believe the field should not be named after (Danaher)," Collier said. "The field should remain Calallen because that's what it is, not him. It's for Calallen. He may have won us a couple of games on it, but there will be others won after (him) and way more than he has."
Superintendent Arturo Almendarez said members of the community approached him about four months ago about the possibility of honoring Danaher, who has been the head coach at CHS for 25 years, by renaming the high school football field after him. The idea struck the superintendent as a good one, he added, since Danaher is the only Wildcats head coach to lead the team onto the field of Wildcat Stadium.
Danaher, who was in attendance at Monday's meeting, is also 64 wins away from being the all-time winningest coach in Texas high school football history, school officials said.
"We hope he stays here and achieves that here in Calallen, as it will put not only his name, but Calallen's (name), into the history books," Almendarez said to the school board on Monday. "It is my honor to recommend that we name the football field at Wildcat Stadium after Coach Danaher."
The board then unanimously voted to approve the field name change, with applause from the audience greeting the decision. Individuals approached Danaher to shake hands and congratulate him on the honor.
After the decision, Danaher said he was humbled by the move.
"I'm very honored," Danaher said. "I feel like I've been very blessed to be in this school system that's been very supportive for academics and athletics and just student growth, period."
As for the opposition raised by some of the audience members during the meeting, Danaher said he respected their right to voice opinions.
"I appreciate the school board and they always have tough decisions," Danaher said. "Every decision will make someone happy and others unhappy."
As for his impressive record at Calallen of 276-51-2, the longtime Wildcats head football coach remained humble, giving credit to his players and assistants for his success.
"My name is the head coach, but I have to give credit to the kids that have played for us and the coaches that have been with me all these years," Danaher said.
The district recently awarded Danaher a contract extension through the 2010-11 school year.
Statistics for Calallen Wildcats head coach Phil Danaher
Overall record: 276-51-2
District record: 144-16-1
Playoff record: 56-24
Under Danaher's leadership, Wildcats have:
Won 55 consecutive district games Gone undefeated in regular season 10 times Gone undefeated in district 14 times Won 10 or more games in 16 consecutive seasons, a Texas record Been to the playoffs in 24 straight seasons
Danaher is currently third all-time winning coach in Texas high school football history Ranked second among most winning active coaches in state Ranked 18th all-time among active coaches nationally Overall career record of 344-88-4 is only 64 victories away from becoming No. 1 winning coach in Texas history.