Council to vote on naming facility after coach - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Council to vote on naming facility after coach

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2008 8:37 pm | Updated: 9:10 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Forty-six years. Ten state championship games, four of them resulting in titles. All under two coaches. That, in a nutshell, is the history of Coronado High School's baseball program.

And now, the man who built that program is poised to be honored as the Scottsdale Unified School District's governing board votes tonight whether to name Coronado's newest facility the Roy Coppinger Baseball Complex.

Coppinger led the Dons baseball team from the school's inception in 1961 until 1989, when he handed the program over to current coach Buck Holmes. In addition to winning three state titles and serving as Coronado's athletic director, Coppinger won places in halls of fame for the city of Scottsdale, the Arizona High School Baseball Coaches' Association, National High School Coaches and Arizona State University.

But awards aren't the only things his players remember.

"He taught us dedication, hard work, self-respect, how to be successful," said Kendall Carter, Coppinger's son-in-law and a member of the 1979 state champion team. "Things like that carry over when you're a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kid."

Carter especially remembers Coppinger kicking the school's best baseball player off the team after that player was caught drinking - proving he would treat all students equally, regardless of talent.

Don "DJ" D'Avignon, Carter's former teammate and co-chairman of the naming committee, remembers Coppinger hand-carving bats into trophies for his players.

"There's coaches all over this Valley who were inspired by him," D'Avignon said.

Former players still come up to Coppinger on the street, said his wife, Jerry Coppinger. Once, as the couple was getting ready to board a cruise to Alaska, three men ran through lines of passengers to greet their old coach.

Roy Coppinger, now 76, has no idea the honor is coming, his wife said. The family doesn't plan to tell him until after the board votes. "I think he'll cry," she said. "He gets so touched when people talk about the old days."

Once the name is official, the alumni group has to raise $5,000 before it can buy a $17,000 scoreboard emblazoned with Coppinger's name and each year the team played in a championship game. That way, students will be able to look up to the board and see the history they're a part of, D'Avignon said.

The board meeting is 5:30 p.m. at the District Education Center, 3811 N. 44th St., Phoenix.

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