Sports

BHS gym may finally get a name

Its gleaming hardwood carries the squeak of sneakers and the metronomic bonk of the roundball; its walls echo with the clang of iron and the strains of Spartan faithful hundreds strong.

Hoops, teams, stands, fans – the Bainbridge High School gymnasium has it all. Everything except a good name.

That should change this winter, though, as the Bainbridge Island School District looks for a fitting moniker for the two-year-old facility.

“It’s certainly been on the forefront of people’s minds since the gym was built,” said Bruce Colley, the district’s executive director for administrative services. “It’s time to move forward.”

The 2,260-seat facility opened in January 2000, replacing the 42-year-old David W. Buchanan Memorial Gymnasium. Several unsolicited naming proposals came in to the district at that time, but the Bainbridge School Board declined to appoint a committee or make a decision.

“We just felt like we weren’t quite ready to jump into that process,” board member Bruce Weiland said. “Now we are.”

A five-person naming committee has been appointed, to solicit and review nominations and present three to five finalists to the school board for final approval.

Committee members include:

Korrie Beemer, BHS graduate and former prep basketball star, now a teacher and junior varsity girls’ basketball coach; Neal White, BHS athletic director; Diane Hebner of Bainbridge Boosters; Jerry Elfendahl, island historian; and Bill Winsor, “legendary” BHS social studies teacher, now retired.

“It’s a great group, a group with a lot of history, not only school-wise, but community-wise,” Colley said.

District guidelines for naming a school facility are few.

The moniker should have “historical, geographical, cultural or community significance”; names of living persons are generally eschewed, although the district has made exceptions, as it did with Woodward Middle School.

When the new gym opened, several figures from Bainbridge athletic lore emerged as early favorites:

l Ed Loverich: Island native “Ashcan” Loverich revolutionized the game of basketball during his days at the University of Washington.

In an age when players still thrust the ball toward the hoop with both hands, Loverich’s one-handed shooting technique turned heads and drew national attention when the UW team traveled to the Olympic trials in 1936, forever changing the sport’s most fundamental skill.

“He was the Number 1 scoring player on the Number 1 college team in the country,” Elfendahl said.

Loverich passed away several years ago.

l Tom Paski: He coached three BHS sports, including basketball, from 1947 until 1970. Now 90 years old, he still resides on the island.

l Gordon Prentice: He served simultaneously as BHS football and baseball coach and athletic director, from 1973 until is death in 1983 at age 41. Prentice succumbed to an aneurism while lifting weights in the school gym.

l Bozo Taniguchi: A consummate Spartan booster, the BHS graduate and prep baseball player worked as a custodian in Bainbridge schools until his untimely death in 1999 at age 65, when he suffered injuries in a fall.

Throughout his years at the school, Taniguchi rode team buses and helped the athletic programs whenever possible. The the Bainbridge Boosters honored him for his service in the 1970s, presenting him with a letterman’s jacket.

“We’ve heard those names, and others as well,” Colley said.

“It’s going to be interesting, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot.”

Written nominations can be submitted through Jan. 6. The committee will take public comment at a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 in the BHS Commons.

Colley hopes the committee can take a recommendation to board on Jan. 16. The newly named gymnasium could then be dedicated on Feb. 7, when both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams play at home.

“If the committee feels they can do it in that time, it would be great to christen it at a student event,” Weiland said. “That would be a great way to do it.”

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For whom should the Bainbridge High School gymnasium be named?

Submissions may be sent to Bruce Colley, Bainbridge Island School District, 8489 Madison Ave. NE, Bainbridge Island WA 98110, or by email to bcolley@bainbridge.wednet.edu. For more information, call 780-1072.

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