The Henry County School System’s facilities and grounds committee met Monday at the Grove Tower building to discuss naming two facilities and the football field, in addition to discussing the fieldhouse project at Henry County High School.
Director of Schools Brian Norton told the committee, which includes Josh Frey and Jim McCampbell, about submitting a request to the rest of the board at the next county school board meeting to name the fieldhouse and the field in honor of two people that made extraordinary contributions to athletics at HCHS — former football coaches Bill Hudson and James Counce.
Norton said the only facility that is currently named is Gamlin Gymnasium, the basketball gym which was named for former HCHS boys basketball coach Fred Gamlin, who was a teacher and a coach for 20 years between 1961-81 at various schools, including HCHS, Big Sandy, Martin High and Union City High. Norton said three names were recommended to him for various places on the high school campus.
He told the committee that in accordance to board policies, the board can only name a school in honor of someone who has demonstrated exemplary service, but it cannot be named for a living person. Norton went on to say that a single building can be for a living person provided they had made outstanding contributions to the school.
“My question was do all three of these meet the worthiness of our policy. In my opinion they do,” said Norton. “One of the requests to rename one facility, we want to be a surprise for the teacher that has made outstanding contributions to the high school.”
The committee approved recommending naming the field at Patriot Stadium the Bill Hudson Field in honor of the late coach who was perhaps the best-known football player to ever come out of Henry County. The committee will also recommend naming the fieldhouse the James Counce II Fieldhouse in honor of the late coach James Counce, who was actually James Counce Jr. but was rarely referred to by that name.
Norton said the decision is very difficult to name facilities, because there are so many people who have made significant contributions to the school but these three people have made extraordinary contributions.
“Bill (Hudson) was a member of the Buffalo Bills and made all-time best Buffalo Bills team,” said Norton. “He was a longtime educator at Henry County High School.”
Hudson, who was known as Dick Hudson during his playing days, played in two AFL championship games. He retired from the Henry County School System after 30 years as assistant principal at HCHS. Hudson was inducted into the Sports Halls of Fame of Henry County, Memphis State and the state of Tennessee.
Counce led the Patriots to two Class 5A state championships in 2011 and 2013, while he served as the head coach. In addition to the two state championships, Counce also had two perfect seasons before retiring after the 2014 season.
His son, who is actually James Counce III but is typically referred to as James Counce Jr., is the current head football coach at HCHS.
The other facility that will be named will be announced after the April school board meeting.
In other business, the committee discussed installing flooring for the 25-foot expansion on both the north and south ends of the current fieldhouse.
Norton told the board the flooring was not included in the original bid for the project. He said the low quote on rubber flooring is $22,642. Those funds would include installing rubber flooring on the visitors’ side of the expansion and installing rubber flooring and a possible indoor turf on the other side of the fieldhouse.
Mike Poteete, the system’s athletic director, said the visitors currently use the auxiliary gym and with the fieldhouse expansion, visitors will be able to use the fieldhouse to run drills and get ready for the game.
The original plans for the flooring included painting the concrete. Both Frey and Poteete said they felt installing rubber flooring around the expansion would be safer for the athletes.
The indoor turf would be 30-feet-by-60-feet and would also include running rubber flooring around the turf so that the equipment from the weight room could be placed there and would not damage the turf.
Norton said the budget for the overall HCHS renovation and expansion project is currently running over budget, so they are looking at ways to cut costs. The panel discussed possible ways to cut costs on the flooring project, but decided to carry that discussion over to its next meeting.