TECUMSEH – The board of the Tecumseh Public Schools is likely to vote Monday to name the baseball field at the Tecumseh Compass Learning Center after a late member of the district’s 1981 baseball team.
Derek Nahabedian, 57, from Linden died on July 2 after a battle with colon cancer.
Known as “Naha” to his friends, Nahabedian was a pitcher on the team, which was number two in the state championship.
Jan. 11 a group of teammates gave a presentation to the school board who wanted to rename the field where the team played “Naha Baseball Stadium.” The teammates also wrote a letter to the manager and the board members.
Tecumseh resident Tim Smith and his teammates showed up at the virtual board meeting and told the board that the group was already planning to celebrate the team’s 40th anniversary this year.
The field, also known as “The Bowl”, is adjacent to the Compass Learning Center, which served as Tecumseh High School in 1981, and the baseball field, which was the home of the university team.
The field is currently used by beginner and junior varsity baseball in Tecumseh after a new field was built at the current high school.
“Like many baseball players from Tecumseh, he was a nice guy, very unique. Had a tragedy in the last year so far as to get colon cancer. But this year is our 40th anniversary – made in 1981. And … we were going to organizes a celebration party, but he had passed away before the party, “said Smith, one of the organizers of the effort. “And what we are asking for is an opportunity to give the field a new name. … It would be some nice sunlight for the community.”
Smith said the group plans to cover all costs, which will primarily be a sign and a dedication ceremony during a game.
The group also wants to set up a scholarship fund for Nahabedian’s two young sons.
“What this team achieved in 1981, as you have already read in the letter a bit, was a pretty special achievement,” Smith told the board. “I’m telling you that there were probably over 5,000 or more there that day watching a baseball game in Tecumseh (when the team won the semifinals).”
Smith said the stadium contains special memories for him and his teammates.
While the Nahabedian threw the team to the state championship, the championship at Central Michigan University was delayed due to the weather.
Nahabedian’s parents were already in Europe on their senior trip, and he failed to look up when the game was finally played on the third try.
The board dealt with the request in two meetings, since no one remembered the last time the names were asked in the district.
Superintendent Rick Hilderley said he had talks with Smith about the issue during the fall, but at the time, the district did not have a policy in the board’s policy manual naming the district’s facilities. The board’s policy was updated late last year and now includes the provisions.
The policy states that naming rights last for five years unless otherwise decided by the board.
The board members voted to put the item on the agenda for two meetings before the vote.
Treasurer John Benzing agreed with the idea, but said he was concerned that others might have previously asked for naming rights, but was denied.
Hilderley said he had to ask district historians.
Secretary Becky Brooks said she read the letter from the team members and was in favor of the naming.
Vice President Tony Rebottaro also agreed with the naming, but said he would be most comfortable if the district waited to vote on the matter so that the public could get input in case the board was missing something.
During the board’s second discussion on the matter in January. 25 meeting, Hilderley said he had checked with people who were knowledgeable about the district’s history, and they also could not remember when the last naming rights were denied, and also said that such requests were rare.
He explained that what the individuals asked for was not naming rights, but marking, since naming rights in the district’s policy had to do with sponsorship.
“It says, ‘Occasionally, the Board of Education may wish to commemorate a school or district facility using a plaque or to name a facility after a person or other honor,'” Hilderley reads of the policy. significant contribution to the improvement of education in general or the district in particular or the well-being of the district, community, state or nation. ‘”
Whether the memory meets the criteria is up to the board to decide.
Board member Suzanne Moore asked if it would cost the district anything and was told that teammates covered all the costs.
“The board is talking through its minutes, so it will be there for posterity to realize that in 2021 the board saw fit to celebrate this field for one of the team members,” Hilderley said.
The board will probably approve or deny the memory at its next board meeting at 7 pm on Monday. 8.