One permanent staffing change, a temporary equipment fix and a potential long overdue renaming are the talk of Newark High this week as student-athletes get set for the start of preseason practices on Aug. 15.
Dan Deppe has resigned as athletic director after serving in the position for two years. Newark principal Aaron Selekman said that a successor has not been named.
For the school’s sake, I hope Deppe remains in his roles as head girls basketball coach and assistant softball coach. A message put into Deppe about his coaching plans was not immediately returned.
One decision the new athletic director won’t have to worry about, for now at least, is the lighting issue at Hoffman Stadium. An inspection of the permanent light structures in the spring revealed structural issues with the poles that posed a potential danger, resulting in their removal.
While there aren’t lights installed for the fall season, the Yellowjackets’ online schedule includes five home games on Friday nights, and head coach Barry Zehnder confirmed that temporary lights will be brought in to allow the 30-year-long tradition of night games to continue.
Newark High installed lights in 1987, becoming the first high school above the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal to play Friday night games on its school campus. Baynard Stadium, shared by several high schools, was the only other lighted facility at the time.
In other news, former Newark High football coach Butch Simpson, who stood on the sideline for almost every one of those Friday night games, might finally get to see his name emblazoned on the field.
“Paperwork has been filed to name the football field at Newark High School after Mr. Butch Simpson,” Christina School District assistant superintendent Ed Mayfield replied in an email requesting comment on the status of what I consider to be a way-overdue recognition.
Mayfield reiterated that the paperwork is just the first of several steps that are required before the field can officially be named after Simpson. A committee must meet and decide if the request is reasonable enough to make a presentation to the Board of Education. If so, following that presentation to the board, there is a time for public comment to allow for feedback from the community. Then if all goes well, the most storied coach in school history will rightfully have the football field named in his honor.
Personally, that seems like a lot of steps and the use of a lot of peoples’ valuable time for something that is a “gimme.” Simpson is one of the all-time greatest football coaches in state history, perhaps the best. The delay in getting this honor done is almost embarrassing. The reality is that it should have been taken care of when he was still coaching.
The “Buzz from the Hive” weekly report on Newark High football will return for a third straight season. I’ll have updates on the football team each Monday morning, including quotes from head coach Barry Zehnder that you won’t read anywhere else. Look for it online every Monday starting Aug. 20 and in the weekly print edition.
Newark Charter High School has been selected as one of 17 recipients of the 2017-18 Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association Dale Farmer State Champions in Sportsmanship award.
Schools who apply for the award compete against a set of 10 standards that measure the school community’s commitment to the educational nature of interscholastic athletics. Each school submits a portfolio that is judged by the Sportsmanship Committee to determine if they have successfully met the standards.
“We are excited to win for the third straight year,” Newark Charter athletic director Greg Shivery said. “Expectations for decorum is a top priority at Newark Charter, and the athletic program follows the lead of our administration and staff on and off the field. We expect our student athlete, coaches and fans to represent the highest level of sportsmanship throughout the year.”