white patent dr martens Citizens seek renaming of soccer field
The Madison County High School Soccer Field may soon have a new name.
During this month’s school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Matt Eberhardt presented the board with a stack of letters suggesting that the field be renamed in honor of Allan McLearen. Sixteen friends and former players wrote in support of the measure, highlighting McLearen’s service as an educator and coach.
McLearen served as a teacher, administrator and coach with the MCPS school system for 40 years, becoming the first girls soccer team coach and leading the boys to the school’s only state championship soccer victory. He retired in June 2014 as the division’s assistant superintendent and presently serves as the athletic director and soccer coach at Grymes Memorial School.
Local insurance agent Billy Hale has been friends with McLearen for the last 55 years, first as a classmate, then as a roommate at VCU. The two still occasionally travel to their alma mater for Rams games.
“His reputation over the years as a teacher, coach and school administrator is beyond reproach,” Hale said. “We have been honored to have a man of his statue in a leadership capacity.”
Former player Diana Martens said McLearen, whom she and others refer to as “Coach Mac,
” will always hold a special place in her heart.
“He not only took a group of girls onto a soccer field, but he brought us together and made us a team,” she said. “He was always encouraging and supportive as we started out the journey with our first female high soccer team at Madison County High School. His willingness to step up and take on our team gave many of us an opportunity to play a game that we feel passionate about.”
Erin Grimm was also among the players on the girls soccer team. She said McLearen was involved in the success of obtaining signatures in support of creating the team and then pitched it to the school board.
“He continued to believe in us as our first head coach, even with half the team never playing soccer before,” she said. “He’s the type of coach/teacher that impacts you your whole life and you never forget.”
Bryan Wilson was among the students on the state championship winning soccer team.
“Winning that state championship in high school was one of the highlights of my life at that point,” he said. “However, what I find to be the real highlight now is how the leadership, communication and teamwork skills I developed under Coach McLearen have helped me both professionally and personally.
“I hope you choose to honor his legacy by naming the MCPS soccer field after him,” he added.
No decision has been made regarding the naming of the field. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that a local athletic facility has been named after a coach. In 2015,
the high school’s gym was renamed the Katherine Johnson Gymnasium and years before that the football stadium was named the Eddie Dean Field.