Getting our house(s) back in order
Xs and Arrows
September 2, 2023
Tehachapi High School's home opener two weeks ago was an important night for the THS football program and the community in general. After years of neglect and disrepair, and one year after an embarrassing home opener that included failed lighting, scoreboard and a broken sound system later in the season, Coy Burnett Stadium shined.
This Friday was different thanks to the efforts over the last 12 months by members of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club board of directors, our members and the community who let their voices be respectfully heard by the Tehachapi Unified School District Board of Trustees. This led to a re-calibration of priority for many of our athletic facilities, including the football stadium which draws more crowds than any other venue in the community. Other public-facing facilities such as the baseball and softball diamonds received and are continuing to receive much needed upgrades. While their location, still in the middle school campus is not ideal, their look and feel should always be top-notch as a representation of Tehachapi.
If you were not in attendance at Coy Burnett Stadium, here were a few of the changes and a few more yet to come before the next home game on Sept. 8. School district staff worked with contractors to complete a rehabilitation of the far north and south section of the home grandstand where concrete was crumbling and becoming an eyesore and a danger. They have been sealed and coated in hopes of making them last for several more years and cutting down on maintenance in the process. Additionally, new paint was applied to the snack bar, Boosters Green Seats and the student and band sections. Railings were painted and the north end zone ticket booth was completely replaced while green slat privacy fencing now adorns the home stands. These were six-figure improvements to the facility, and we would like to thank Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson, director of business services Hojat Entezari along with district facilities staff led by Kirk Gilbert for their efforts and last-minute hustle on game day.
The Boosters were also heavily involved in making everything ready for a respectable home opener spending thousands of dollars on new signage for the press box, new single-color sponsor banners that provide a consistent look along the fence line and a new "Warrior Football Wall of Fame" sign that highlights the 11 CIF Section championships won by the Warriors since their inception. In addition, countless hours were spent by Booster volunteers and board members repainting the "Mountain Football" on the west wall of the stadium, revamping inside the snack bar and getting countless other small details to improve both the fans and student-athlete experience. I even pulled the famous "touchdown bell" out of storage purgatory and completed a wash and wax detailing to make sure it shines this season because little details matter.
The work was tedious and at times panicked, but it was worth it. To have a facility that is both historic, but at the same time respectable is very important for this community. There is more to be done, some touch ups here and there and a few new additions coming online before the next home game, we are excited to unveil them to the fans. In addition to the football stadium, the THS tennis courts were refurbished as well, and the girl's tennis team proudly unveiled them two weeks ago in their match against Independence, they were proud to defend their home courts again.
A big thank you to all involved, either those that put in physical work, especially Boosters Treasurer Stacey Peel and her husband Joel who have invested lots of time in making this all work and helping me follow through on crazy ideas. We have more to do, while getting Coy Burnett and the tennis courts back in respectable shape was a victory, we still must address issues with practice facilities to ensure the safety of our student-athletes and an opportunity to prepare for games to the best of their abilities.
Our athletic facilities are indeed a classroom, not just for physical education classes, but for the student-athletes who put in extra hours after school to play a sport that may help them continue their education, but more importantly, teaches them important life lessons that are augmented by what they read in books and study. These are life-skills classrooms that deserve the same attention as those in hallways and on campuses.
Thanks to a renewed partnership with the district and the community, we are getting there. We appreciate the support and continue to be committed to putting our best foot forward for the community and our student-athletes.
Each facility bears the name "Tehachapi" and is a representation of this community, as a result, each should be presentable, full of pride and reflect who we are and what we stand for. Borrowing from the Booster Club's theme a few years back; We are All Warriors, and those fields, gyms and courts are our home, after some uncertainty, we are getting our homes back in order.
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 email@example.com.