Committees to select possible names for facilities at Tracy and West high schools are in the process of being appointed, and this move by trustees of the Tracy Unified School District is the logical next step to pinning some names on at least a few portions of the schools.
It’s no surprise that the proposal to attach Wayne Schneider’s name to what is now Peter B. Kyne Field at Tracy High has been kicked around in discussions among a number of people — and for several weeks in this column.
The number of comments I have included in this column in the past few weeks have helped bring the Schneider naming issue into public view and set the stage for consideration of the proposal by the citizens’ committee.
In the past week or so, the comments — the great majority of them supporting Wayne’s name — have pretty much ended; people who wanted to express their opinion, in this forum at least, have done so, and now the ball is in the court of the citizens’ committee.
I would like to offer a concluding comment, though. I have discussed the possible attachment of Wayne’s name to the Tracy High football field with several of his close friends. And they report that Wayne would feel honored by having his name on the facility. The friends believe that Wayne Schneider Stadium would be entirely appropriate in recognition of the contributions Wayne has made over three decades to Tracy High football in particular and the community in general.
That was a conclusion I had reached several weeks ago, and it is buttressed by the views of those close to Wayne.
The name Wayne Schneider Stadium would allow the playing field itself to remain Peter B. Kyne Field, the name attached to the then-dirt playing surface in 1927 when a group of San Francisco Bohemian Club members adopted the Tracy High football team.
The group maintained their contact with Tracy High football for about five years, but that was the extent of the involvement. Kyne, I should note, was indeed touched by the recognition and even called Tracy High his alma mater, though he hadn’t attended high school.
But Kyne also pointed out that his friend, "Gus" Russell, played the key role in the group adopting the football team, building a fence around the field and naming the stadium.
Also, Peter B. Kyne’s name will continue to live through the perpetual Peter B. Kyne Trophy, given at the end of each football season to the most-valuable player on the Tracy High football team. The words "most-valuable" are used instead of "outstanding" to signify that playing ability certainly is considered in the selection, but leadership and sportsmanship also weigh heavily.
Wayne Schneider’s involvement in Tracy High football, of course, extended much longer than Kyne’s and Russell’s — more than a quarter-century of coaching — and went much deeper. And along with the 224 wins, 14 league titles and two Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships, Wayne has had a great impact on the players on those teams, and that impact has extended beyond the team to the school and throughout the community.
In fact, Wayne is still making a contribution. As a close friend and confidant of both varsity coaches — Mark Stroup at Tracy High and Steve Lopez at West — he is continuing to influence the football fortunes of football in our town.
And, in recent years, Wayne has been the driving force to keep the North-South All-Star high school football game alive. Without his commitment, the game would be history.
Depending on how much bond money is available after other improvements on the Tracy High campus are completed, the football field will be improved in several possible areas. When that project is completed in a few years, naming the facility Wayne Schneider Stadium would be entirely appropriate.
Yes, Wayne Schneider Stadium has a good ring to it. But, more importantly, it is a name that is well deserved.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.