By CARL SMITH
Starkville High School head baseball coach Danny Carlisle made a name for himself with numerous wins, division championships and state titles. Now, the field where Carlisle collected many of his wins will be named after the SHS legend.
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees voted to name the SHS baseball field after Carlisle, who is retiring as Yellowjackets skipper after this season.
SHS Athletic Director Stan Miller and other SHS baseball representatives approached the board Tuesday with the request to name the field after the district’s long-serving coach because of his on-the-field, financial and educational contributions.
Carlisle was recently honored for his 35 years of service to SSD and his 29 years of guiding Yellowjacket baseball.
“(The baseball stadium) is probably the best facility in SSD. Most of the funding was raised through private donations,” Miller said while speaking to the board about Carlisle’s impact.
Before the board voted unanimously to name the field after Carlisle, board member Eric Heiselt reminded the board that the district has no formal adopted policy for naming new facilities. When reading from a sample facility-naming policy provided by the Mississippi School Board Association, Heiselt said Carlisle’s impact and support fit the document’s five main criteria.
Heiselt then suggested the district develop future guidelines for naming facilities after those who have made major contributions to the school system. He also suggested the board approve Miller’s request after SHS baseball representatives said two potential policy readings would push the official action after the end of baseball season.
Both Heiselt and board member Eddie Myles said they received many phone calls from SSD constituents in favor of naming the field after the famed coach.
Coach Carlisle said the board’s decision is very humbling and a tremendous honor.
“Building relationships over 35 years since I started — that’s what it’s about,” Carlisle said. “I hope that the young men I’ve coached and those in my classes became better citizens for Starkville. It’s a two-way street, too. Those kids have kept me young.”
In other board business, school board members agreed to a long-term lease option for the city to control a portion of J.L. King Park.
The board agreed to a 50-year, $1 lease for a portion of J.L. King Park to fall back to city control with the stipulation the area remains a park. The motion was made following an executive session on the topic and student matters.
School board members convened their meeting at J.L. King Park and discussed the park, its history and the potential lease with Matthew Rye, Starkville Parks and Recreation director, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The city deeded the school district a portion of the land in the 1960s, Rye said last week, but paperwork was never followed through with completely once the city assumed the land after integration.
During its March 6 meeting, according to the minutes provided by SSD, the board voted to authorize attorney Dolton McAlpin to prepare a seven-year lease for $1 to present back to the board and Starkville Parks Commission. On Tuesday, Rye highlighted how important long-term property control is when the city seeks grant funding for projects.
Future park projects and renovations, including the installation of splash pads at the current park’s pool location, will draw more activity and more safety to the area, Rye said.
“Our goal is to get people active,” Rye said to the board at J.L. King Park Tuesday.