VSASSOPOLIS — Ever wondered how local football pitches got their name? The reasons are varied depending on the individuals or companies whose name they bear.
In Cassopolis, William F. Scott Field was named after an educator, who also served as a coach and later, before he died at a young age.
Scott taught from 1957 to 1966 at Cassopolis.
He will leave the community to teach at Oliver School and John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana. He also served two terms as President of the National Education Association – South Bend, until resigning in the spring of 1972.
Scott taught and coached at Oliver School for four years before joining John Adams, where he served as a math teacher and freshman basketball coach. Scott has also coached football and wrestling at Cassopolis, as well as basketball.
According to his son Reggie Scott, Cassopolis offered his father the top job in 1973.
“He was disciplinary and he was fair,” Scott said of his father. “He was highly respected and he had a lot of integrity and pride. When we moved to Cassopolis, no African Americans had lived on Diamond Lake. My dad said if they wanted him to be the principal here in Cass, he wanted to live in Diamond Lake and break that barrier.
According to Scott, Cassopolis faced many racial issues in high school at the time. In part, Elder Scott was brought in to help change this because they knew he was a good teacher and coach when he first worked in the district.
“They thought he would be the man who could help turn things around,” Reggie Scott said.
The Yazoo City, Mississippi native, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Alcorn College before going on to graduate school at Western Michigan University and Michigan State University, returned to Cassopolis to become the high school’s principal in 1972.
Scott died aged 53 in March 1974.
“He did it a year after we got here,” Reggie Scott said. “It was my second year.”
The family was thrilled to discover that Cassopolis would honor William F. Scott by naming the football field after him in the late 1970s.
Among those instrumental in putting his father’s name on the ark were the late Dan Lee and George Hawthorne.
“Since they named the high school after Ross Beatty, they wanted the football field to be named after my dad,” Reggie Scott said. “My father played a very important role in the construction of the new secondary school.”
Reggie Scott said every time he passed the school and the grounds, he thought of his father.
“I think about him all the time,” he said.
Summarizing his legacy, Reggie Scott called his father a trailblazer.
“He definitely believed in civil rights,” he said. “He was fair, but demanding.
Chris Taylor – Alumni Field
In Dowagiac, the football pitch has a pair of names attached to the archway that greets fans on Friday nights.
The newly purchased property two blocks from the new junior-senior high school building, known as Central Middle School, was originally Alumni Field.
It was named for the former students who helped raise money to build the entrance to the new sports field, which was on the “Dixie Highway”, which is now M-51. The classes of 1919, 1925 and 1926 donated money to the project, which cost about $4,000 to build.
Other donors included:
•The 1925 faculty play.
•The high school operetta of 1926.
• Sixth grade students from Miss Gustine’s room.
•A personal donation of $1,000 from Charles Heddon.
The land itself was a gift from the High School Alumni Association.
In September 1983, the name Chris Taylor was added.
Taylor is perhaps the most famous athlete to come out of Dowagiac. Taylor, known as the “Gentle Giant”, is known worldwide for his wrestling and he also played football for the Chieftains.
But it was wrestling that made Taylor a household name, starting with her high school days. He would go on to play at Muskegon Community College and then Iowa State University. He was Michigan State champion in 1967, losing just one game the entire season. He was the NJCAA national champion in Muskegon before moving to Iowa State, where he won the NCAA championship in 1972 and 1973. He fought his way to the title in 1973 .
After the 1972 championship season, Taylor made the United States Olympic team, where he wrestled in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. After a controversial 3-2 loss to Alexander Medved of the Soviet Union, he won the bronze medal in the freestyle. A poster of Medved launching Taylor at the Olympics in Munich, Germany can still be purchased.
After college, Taylor tried his hand at professional wrestling. He will die shortly after his 29th birthday due to health complications.
Taylor was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Marvin L. Selge Sr Field
When you talk about a community coming together to create something good, Marvin L. Selge Sr. Field at Brandywine is a perfect example.
For more than a decade, Bobcat football, soccer and track teams have been limited by their facilities. That all changed when the district built a state-of-the-art soccer, athletics and football facility for a fraction of the cost of traditional construction.
That’s because Brandywine School Board President Jim Curran and dedicated parent Tom Balint have joined forces to put the Bobcats on a level playing field with their competitors.
It took nearly a decade to complete the project, but the end result speaks for itself.
Known as the “Backyard Boyz,” a group of college students who donated free labor hours, Curran and Balint were also successful in convincing area businesses to help make their vision a reality.
These companies included Bob’s Landscaping, Wilton Fence Company, Reith-Riley, Arndt Asphalt, Red Hen Turf Farm, Pro Irrigation, Bill Messner Electric, Mikie Kachur, Watson’s Tree Service and Brett Crouch.
There were also fundraisers like the annual Cat Tracks 5K run which helped raise funds to carry out the project.
But perhaps the most significant donation came from Selge Construction, which, under the direction of Marv Selge Jr., cleared the land and donated the equipment needed to complete the project.
Since the company donated the cost of the equipment, in addition to helping clear the land for the fields and track, it was decided by the Brandywine School Board that the land would be named after Marv Selge Jr.
Veterans Memorial Field
Buchanan named his soccer field after those who died in action during World War II.
According to Ruth Writer, there were 12 young men who were supposed to graduate in 1946, but did not because they served in the war.
It replaced the original athletics across from the current site where the McCoy Creek Recreation Area now locates the dog park.
The land was built using the natural hillside in the spring of 1946, making it 75 years old. In 2010-11 a new press box and concession stand were built. New bleachers were eventually added, which Writer says were placed on top of the original wooden bleachers.
The new press box and concession stand were dedicated to the first match following September 11, 2011.