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"Drive on to name BHS fields, new gym"

"While new parents may not always agree on the baby's name, the need to fill out a birth certificate forces them to make a decision. But with no such deadline, public facilities can go nameless indefinitely.With at least two groups suggesting names, the Bainbridge Island School Board is prepared to crank up the process for naming the now anonymous high school gymnasium, and perhaps the football and baseball fields as well.At Thursday's board meeting, Nancy Dorsey will present a request to name one of the facilities for Gordon Prentice, who served simultaneously as BHS football and baseball coach and athletic director, from 1973 until his death at age 41 in 1983.Already this week, the board received a petition to name the gymnasium for former custodian and sports booster Bozo Taniguchi.We'll want to embark on the process pretty soon, board president Bruce Weiland said. There seems to be real interest in the community.Actually reaching a decision about a name is a multi-step process. First, the board and the school superintendent must appoint a committee of public and staff members.Names would then be solicited and a public hearing held. The committee would winnow down qualified nominees, and submit a list of from three to five names for a school board vote. The criteria are intended to ensure that the chosen name is significant to the community. The name need not be of a person - a place or name of historical, geographical, cultural or community significance is also acceptable.When it comes to people, though, past is preferable to present. The use of names of living persons shall be avoided, district policy states, although that is not an iron-clad rule, Weiland noted.Dorsey's interest in honoring Prentice stems from the fact that all three of her sons played football for him. When she broached the notion of honoring Prentice, not one single person I've talked to hasn't been excited about it, she said.The question was where to start. Dorsey put together a package of press clippings and attached a petition. She estimated that she now has roughly 500 signatures.Prentice's football coaching record at Bainbridge was 78 wins and 53 losses. Three of his teams went to the state playoffs. He was also a successful baseball coach.Prentice died in 1983 while lifting weights at the high school gymnasium, suffering an aneurism and falling into a coma from which he did not recover.Dean Scherer, who coached basketball during Prentice's tenure, endorses both Prentice and former basketball coach Tom Paski as potential honorees.Prentice was just a super guy who had a great personality, Scherer said. I can't think of anybody else who'd be more well-deserving than Gordy.Scherer said that because Prentice was a football and baseball coach, it might make more sense to name one of the outdoor facilities for him, and name the gymnasium for Paski. The question in his mind is whether the fact that Paski is still alive would disqualify him for consideration.And the Prentice supporters are not fixated on the gymnasium.Naming the football stadium or baseball field for Gordy would be fine, Dorsey said.District superintendent Steve Rowley said that once the process actually begins, he expects that additional names may emerge.When we named the Sakai school two years ago, we had close to 90 nominations, he said. He thinks the nominating committee will have a difficult time cutting the field down to three to five names to submit to the board.The aversion to names of the living stems from the fact that the decision can take on the trappings of a popularity contest.In some respects, being nominated and not chosen is worse than not being nominated, he said. But it's a great honor for the person who gets chosen. "

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