At Tuesday night's School Committee meeting, Committee members unanimously approved the establishment of a Coventry Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame after Athletic Director Chuck Jones presented his proposal for the new program.
'When I started this position and found out that there was no athletic Hall of Fame, it really surprised me," said Jones. "I think that this is something that should definitely be here."
He explained that the Hall would be overseen by a six-member committee made up of the high school principal or designee, director of athletics, assistant director of athletics and three at-large members and would honor not only present and future athletes, but also inductees from the past. A set of bylaws and criteria are currently being formulated to ensure a uniform nomination process.
The Hall of Fame will include five categories of award - Athletes, Team, Coaches, Administrators and the Red and White Award. The current eligibility requirements include having graduated from Coventry High School a minimum of five years prior to nomination for student athlete or team, for coaches to have coached in the school system and no longer be an active coach there, and for the Red and White Award, to have made a significant contribution to Coventry school athletics.
Valid nominations received from the Coventry schools athletic department would eventually be presented to the School Committee.
Due to a lack of athletic record-keeping in the district's history, in order to begin inducting former athletes, the Hall of Fame Committee will have to search through school yearbooks and state athletic Hall of Fames, as well as speak to past athletic directors in order to find nominees from the past.
Jones described his desire to hold an induction ceremony on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, depending on which sporting event would play host, whether it be the Homecoming or Thanksgiving football games or at halftime of another event. Displays and encasements would also be created to showcase trophies, plaques and photos, and may possibly be built by career and technical students at Coventry High School.
Committee Chairperson Kathy Patenaude pointed out that some communities have made induction ceremonies into Hall of Fame fund-generators by hosting a reception for family and friends of athletes.
"I have heard this idea brought up previously and I think it's a great idea," Patenaude said. "I think it is something that we really should have."