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CCISD school board hears request to name CCISD’s football field

Cove Leader-Press 

The subject of naming Copperas Cove ISD’s football field “Lombardi Field” has garnered attention by television, radio and print media over the past several months.
On Tuesday evening, two local members of the community went before the Copperas Cove Independent School District’s board of trustees and formally requested that the board put the matter on the agenda for consideration by the board at a future meeting. 
Prior to the open forum, board of trustees Joan Manning reminded those in attendance that by state law, board members are not allowed to ask questions or give comments about anything said by those speaking in open forum. 
“I’ve seen things on TV, where ‘well, the school board didn’t even talk back to the people that came to speak to them – at least in Texas, we are not allowed to,” she said. “But we do listen, and we’re happy to have you come and address us.”
Roger “Billy Ray” Fant, a longtime friend of the late “Big Joe” Lombardi and a fellow radio announcer, was the first to speak. 
Fant said that he was there in support of Sherry (Hoffpauir) as well as everyone else who was in favor of Lombardi Field. 
“For 45 years he worked with many coaches, assistant coaches, students and organizations. He loved the Bulldawgs, not just football, but all the sports and all the students that were in it,” Fant said. “In fact, he knew the names and stats of most of the students and what they did, and could probably recite them off the top of his head. And those names that you probably remember hearing for the first time and still including Coach Hal Mumme, Coach Tim Edwards, Coach Jack Welch, and players Charles Tillman, Vontez Duff, Josh Boyce, Robert Griffin III, Jasmine Baskin,  and many others. Volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer. He knew them all. And the first time you probably heard your name on the radio came from Joe Lombardi.” 
Fant reminded the board that Lombardi for the past several  years did his announcing work for the Bulldawgs, without pay.
“In the past couple of years, there were times that Joe didn’t get a paycheck for doing it. He did it because he loved the community. Each of us have a memory of growing up with, listening to, working with Joe.”
He called for them to remember the unique life Joe lived and his interests, the biggest one being the community, and supporting Copperas Cove sports, notably. He said all they requested was 18 letters and a space. 
Next up after Fant was Sherry Hoffpauir, who had been married to Lombardi for more than 30 years and picked up the drive to name the field at Bulldawg Stadium. 
“I just want to run some numbers by y’all. We’ve had over 4,000 views, which means that 4,000 people clicked on a story about Joe and Lombardi Field from a TV station. That’s 4,000 views. We sent numerous emails and letters to the editor from seven states, not including Texas. 
“And I know that one school board member commented that he didn’t care that it came from people outside of Copperas Cove because they weren’t constituents. But let me tell you, those people have family and friends here, and they care.”
She also said that readers of the Killeen Daily Herald and readers of the Copperas Cove Leader-Press have read letters to the editor. 
“We’ve had one letter that was hand delivered from a former commander at Fort Hood. and I believe you all have seen that letter,” she said. 
“All we’re asking is for the field, not a building or facility. We just want the field named after Joe.”
Hoffpauir told the board that a Temple radio station has offered to do an on air fundraising to cover any costs for the naming of the field. 
“Please put it on the agenda for a vote,” she asked.
Joan Manning said on Tuesday evening that this was the first time anyone had actually requested for the board to put this on a future meeting agenda. 
A minimum of two board members would need to make the request to put the matter on a future agenda, which could be as soon as Tuesday, Jan. 9, the board’s next meeting. 
As of Nov. 9, CCISD had received 22 emails regarding Lombardi Field, according to Kurtis Quillen, the district’s director of communications. Quillen also said that not all have been in favor of the naming. 
On Tuesday evening, Quillen said the emails numbered around 30 as of that time. 
The statement given via CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns as a response to the emails was that “Copperas Cove has a number of facilities that are named after individuals; this includes the radio announcer’s booth in the Bulldawg Stadium press box — which is named in honor of Joe Lombardi and is where Joe Lombardi did all of the work he performed for the football program.”

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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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