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The Normal Community High School football field will be dedicated to longtime coach and teacher Dick Tharp, following a school board vote on Wednesday.



NORMAL – The football field at Normal Community High School will be dedicated to longtime coach and teacher Dick Tharp, following a school board vote on Wednesday.

The McLean County Unit 5 school board approved the name Dick Tharp Field as part of the consent program after a public hearing early in Wednesday’s meeting.

Tharp, who is now 90 years old and lives in Louisiana, is the most successful coach in school history, having coached from 1966 to 1988.






Community Normal High School football coach Dick Tharp, left, chats with three Intercity players ahead of the Illinois Coaching Sanctuary’s first All-Star football game at Hancock Stadium in 1975 Joining Tharp from left was NCHS lineman Mike Priebe, NCHS defensive back / quarterback Kurt Swearingen and central Catholic end Loren Underhill.


Randy Reinhardt



His teams have made eight playoffs, including a second place finish in Class 4A in 1974, with a cumulative record of 158-50-5 during his 22 years.

Former players and others associated with the football program spearheaded efforts to honor the coach.

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Mike Goodwin, who played under Tharp from 1985 to 1986, told Pantagraph columnist and former sports editor Randy Kindred that the former coach has said he will try to witness the on-field dedication that will likely take place during the First home game this fall on September 3 when the Ironmen face Peoria Manuel on their previously unnamed home field.

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Dick Tharp

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“The NCHS has one of the most successful programs in the history of the state and that’s in large part because of it,” Goodwin said Wednesday. “His influence was unmatched.”

Ken Frost, Tharp’s grandfather thanked the board for considering this name recognition.

“His teachings and philosophies really reverberated through so many young men that he trained, and those philosophies really continued with these men for the rest of their lives and had a positive impact not only on them, but on them as well. their families and the people who interacted with them, the jobs they held and the community at large, no matter where they went, ”he said.

No district funds will be used for this change, and all costs will be covered by private donations, district spokeswoman Dayna Brown said.

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.


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