By Bill Nestor
Lincoln High School has seen its fair share of improvements over the last several years. While many schools in North Central West Virginia dream of making renovations, the administration at the Shinnston-based school is busy making their dreams a reality.
The most recent eye-catching addition at Stydahar Field is the new locker rooms. It has been a long time coming, and two Sundays ago the final product was unveiled via an open house. The building process began a few years ago but was slowed by COVID-19. Through the hard work and perseverance of the school administration and veteran Head Football Coach Rob Hawkins, the deal was done.
The original locker rooms were constructed in 1976, and over time, the need for newer and larger locker rooms surfaced. “The original locker rooms served their purpose for a long time, but we ran out of room,” explained Hawkins. He also said, “We have had two locker rooms for 20 years. When I played back in the 80s, all we had were hooks on the wall. Jimmy Lopez then built wooden lockers and later we had metal lockers when Coach Herrod was here.”
The lack of space forced storage of equipment into the trainer’s room, the coach’s office, and in the off season, the shower room. Complicating the issue even more was the fact that the middle school did not have a locker room of their own. Not only did that pose an immediate problem with space, it also was a major inconvenience for the younger players. They would have to tote their belongings to and from Stydahar Field daily. That is a workout both physically and mentally. Making sure that you have the checklist of items needed on practice days and game days would take away from the focus of the players.
This new facility will eliminate that issue as the middle school now has its own locker room. The soccer and track teams will also benefit as they now have their own brand-new digs.
The entire project was a huge undertaking that took an entire community effort to complete. “I don’t think we could have asked for more from the community. Several businesses, some classes (my class of 1987 donated two lockers), former players, and several individuals donated large sums of money,” Hawkins said. The collaborative effort of the community coupled with the Harrison County Board of Education made this possible.
At the high school, a trio of individuals were credited by Hawkins for seeing this project materialize from start to finish: Russ McKeen, David Decker, and Holly Hawkins. Holly Hawkins is one of the best athletic directors in the state, and her impact was critical in this case. “Her vision of how nice it should look has come to fruition,” Hawkins said.
The amount of pride that these student athletes will garner is immeasurable. Having their own room to roam makes all of this effort worthwhile. Now Hawkins would like to move over the long-standing Cougar traditions from the old facility to the new one, “I hope the culture that we had in the old locker room will travel with us. It was a special place for our players, and now they have a beautiful locker room that the players can carry that culture to and be proud of.”
This project is well deserved for the athletes and coaches like Rob Hawkins that care so much about them!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!