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.
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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“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.
Photos: Normal West takes third place at Class 3A state track and field competition
Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.
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