Author photo

By Corey Costelloe
contributing writer 

Facility issues are failing our student-athletes

Xs and Arrows


September 3, 2022

Corey Costelloe.

A well-prepared and well-performing Tehachapi Warriors football team was let down last week in their home opener against Highland of Bakersfield. Not let down in terms of score, the revamped Warriors under second-year head Coach Kris Krempien dominated the visiting Scots 42-7, the problem is they did it in the middle of the afternoon.

Instead of historic Coy Burnett Stadium providing a home field advantage, the aging relic almost dealt its own Warriors a fatal blow when delayed-maintenance of the electrical system caused a malfunction in the stadium lights which was not addressed until game day, leaving the Warriors to scramble to get their opponents to make the trip up the mountain earlier in the day-or potentially have the game canceled as was also unfortunately considered as the first option. As a result, the junior varsity game was nothing more than a scrimmage at 3 p.m., as it was too late to get game officials to Tehachapi in time, great for reps but not great for game-ready players and parents.

The varsity contest then kicked off at 5 p.m., a literal scramble for working parents and fans to see the home opener of their Warriors. It was also a herculean effort by staff, volunteers and other game day operations. Needless to say it was made an inconvenient reality. In addition to the lights issue, the 1960s-era electrical system also wreaked havoc on the scoreboard, making it inoperable as well, which meant relying on the public address announcer on a barely functioning sound system to keep the fans within ear shot of the time remaining after each play.

Welcome to Tehachapi, we promise we care about our kids.

In summary it was a failure – and a preventable one on so many levels. Our kids deserve better. Athletic facility issues are not a new problem for the Tehachapi Unified School District, but one they seem very apprehensive to try and solve. There's of course Coy Burnett Stadium built in the 1960s and rarely upgraded or touched since. There are also the unfinished baseball, softball, soccer and football facilities at the current high school campus-victim of cost overruns from the school bond passed two decades ago. Even the "new" facilities at THS, like the tennis courts, appear to be aging quicker than normal due to the cookie-cutter school designed for warmer climates being constructed in our difficult weather situation. The THS track and field team has also not had a home track meet since the Bush administration (H.W. that is) due to the dirt surface being far below today's standard of all-weather rubber found in nearly every high school in the state.

There have been attempts in the past by stadium committees and a few concerned citizens to work on a solution, but those attempts have fallen on deaf ears from many previous school administrations as the bandages applied have been enough in the district's eyes. As many of us saw last week there are not even bandages being applied anymore and our facilities are just being allowed to bleed out, a slow, painful – albeit preventable death.

Prior to the game I watched our football team warm up on the old Imhof "Field" – I use that term loosely because they kicked up so much dust where grass used to lie that it looked like a prison-game scene from "The Longest Yard." When I shared that observation with a few other fans one of them was quick to point out that the recreation yard at California Correctional Facility in Tehachapi is in better shape. Sad but true.

The home opener debacle, however, is an opportunity to start a real conversation about the future of our facilities. There is no magic pot of money to replace and build new right away, but there is a solution out there. Unless TUSD is willing to start that conversation and address this problem, none of us will get anything accomplished.

My desire is to see the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club, TUSD, parents, local business owners, donors and volunteers figure out a workable solution to complete the football/soccer/track stadium on the current THS campus – or find a way to put meaningful investment through a creative process into Coy Burnett Stadium to bring it up to compliance and functionality for all our teams.

We are sending a mixed message to our athletes when their adult coaches, parents and supporters tell them to work hard, study and do everything they can to be successful, then we cannot even provide a facility worthy of their efforts. This shows one thing, that the adults do not care. I know there is nothing further from the truth, but look around, there is not much proof when our "care" equates to inoperable lights, cold-war era stadiums and half finished promises that fade a little more each season.

It is time to do better.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter, broadcaster and athletics administrator. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at


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