While several area football stadiums’ monikers are tied to the home team’s mascot — Cadet Field, Cougar Field, Warrior Field — the gridirons in Marietta and Belpre were named in honor of former coaches and athletes.
Don Drumm Stadium, where Marietta College and Marietta High School’s football teams play, bears the name of a Pioneer athlete who lettered in football, baseball and basketball, then returned to the college to coach those sports. In between, he played professional football as a member of the Canton Bulldogs. Drumm also served as the college’s athletic director from 1947 to 1959.
College sports information director Jeff Schaly said his father — renowned MC baseball coach Don Schaly, namesake of the college’s baseball field — played baseball and football for Drumm when he was a student.
“My dad used to say that there (were) four men in his life that he respected — and it was his father, his father-in-law, and then at Marietta College, it was Drumm and a math professor,” Jeff Schaly recalled.
The stadium was built in 1934 as a project of the federal Works Progress Administration, designed to get the unemployed working during the Great Depression. The 3,000-seat, tiered concrete stadium was initially called Municipal Stadium, according to the college’s website, www.marietta.edu .
It was re-dedicated as Don Drumm Stadium on Sept. 24, 1966.
Belpre's Ralph Holder Stadium
Belpre High School’s Ralph Holder Stadium was christened the year after its namesake retired after 34 years at the helm of the football team. Holder still attends home games in the stadium that bears his name.
“It really makes you humble, because that’s not why you coach,” he said.
Holder said he was surprised when former players lobbied the board to name the stadium after him so soon after his departure.
Belpre City Board of Education member Rod Hineman, who taught with Holder, said the coach was one of multiple Belpre coaches and assistants who stayed with the school for 10, 20 and even 30 years.
“That’s just amazing that a person stays that long, that he didn’t jump to a bigger school or go to a small college,” Hineman said. “I doubt that we’ll ever have somebody stay a decade again.”
Hineman said he feels the naming of the stadium is appropriate, but noted it can be tricky sometimes to honor one individual and not another.
The track at the football field was named after Paul Wiley, a longtime coach at the district who oversaw the school — and Washington County’s — only state athletic championship, taking the track crown in 1952.
“We’re almost as old as I am in terms of how long it’s been — that’s how difficult it is,” said Hineman, who was one of the board members that approved that naming about 10 years ago.