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Field house dedicated to Weatherly

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Joni Weatherly, at center, held the plaque presented during dedication ceremonies in honor of her husband, the late Doug Weatherly, with her daughters, Breann, at left, and Rachelle, at right. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
The field house at Pierce City High School was renamed for the late coach and educator Doug Weatherly during a ceremony held Friday before around 200 people.

The ceremony began with the Pierce City Eagles football team emerging from the field house, with Curtis Palmer and Zach Crouch carrying a shadow box. The framed box contained a photo of Weatherly, his polo shirt and hat.

Russ Moreland, former R-6 School District superintendent during the final years of Weatherly's tenure, was asked to speak for the occasion. Moreland recalled the night of Dec. 13, 2010, when Weatherly suffered a heart attack before a girls basketball game.

A shadow box, labeled "The Legacy, Doug 'Coach' Weatherly," was placed on display at the dedication of the field house in Weatherly's memory on Friday. Pierce City players Curtis Palmer and Zach Crouch carried out the shadow box, which is on permanent display in the field house. The box, with Weatherly's shirt and visor, was made by Gayla DeGraffenreid, Courtney Garner and Tracy O'Hara. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
"That night we lost a true education hero," Moreland said. "Mr. Weatherly made every one of his students feel important. Everyone felt like you were his little buddy. If you were in his class, you were important to him. He made world history come alive with a passion for teaching that was second to none."

Moreland recalled that Weatherly's wife, Joni, had expressed concern that Weatherly would be forgotten. Moreland said Weatherly had an impact on the community, as shown by the number who turned out for the dedication, and he would be remembered.

The Pierce City field house was constructed as a storm shelter to standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"It's fitting that the strongest building in town should be named for the strongest man in the community," Moreland said. "In this building, people feel safe and protected. In Doug's class, students felt safe, protected and important. There's no better way to honor him tonight."

During the past eight months, Moreland said he had been in many places and had been amazed at the number of times people had come up to him to express sorrow over Weatherly's passing. Weatherly was widely remembered for being "the nicest guy." Moreland said people are truly remembered for their conduct and their character, and with that, Weatherly made an impact on the community.

Kenny O'Hara, who had coached with Weatherly, reminisced about their first meeting. Like Moreland, O'Hara shared stories about their time together, then presented Weatherly's wife, Joni, and two daughters, Rachelle and Breann, with a football signed by members of the team. O'Hara also presented a plaque, which read:

"In honor of the great and late Doug 'Coach' Weatherly, a man who dedicated 22 years of service to the students of Pierce City Schools, always bringing joy and a friendly smile to all who met him. A coach everyone wanted to play for because of his winning attitude and 'great big ol' green pride!' A man that was bigger than life, that needed no introduction, a wonderful husband, father and friend. He live a life that has left a legacy . . . Forever an Eagle."

The ceremony concluded with the dropping of the covering over the new lettering naming the structure as the Doug Weatherly Field House. The crowd, which included the visiting Sarcoxie High School football team, applauded.

The audio version of Kenny Chesney's song, "The Boys of Fall," was played, lauding the joy of playing high school football.

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Coach Weatherly was one of my favorite teacher & I miss him so much!

-- Posted by annaw1983 on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 4:45 PM

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