Greenport School District

Court dedication prompts discussion about naming policy

Al Edwards talking to his players during his last game as Greenport's coach. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)
Al Edwards talking to his players during his last game as Greenport’s coach. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Now that recommendations have been made to dedicate an indoor basketball court to retired coach Al Edwards, Greenport School District officials are looking to develop a policy for naming school facilities. 

During the Board of Education’s regular meeting Sept. 22, school board president Dan Creedon said he believes a policy is needed before another facility is named and suggested the district look into establishing certain criteria, such as how long the person has worked in the district or the number of championships achieved.

“In my opinion, before we consider dedicating something to anybody, we should produce a policy,” Mr. Creedon said.

Greenport has previously dedicated two of its high school facilities: Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field and Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium.

School board vice president Babette Cornine said the last time the district named a facility was after the 1991 basketball team submitted a petition to the Board of Education requesting it dedicate the large gym to Mr. Manwaring, who also coached Mr. Edwards.

Superintendent David Gamberg said he placed the discussion item on the school board agenda because athletic director James Caliendo had recently suggested dedicating the basketball court to Mr. Edwards — an educator who has become an icon for Greenport boys basketball in a coaching career that touched five decades.

After an All-American career during his high school days at Greenport, Mr. Edwards played college basketball at East Carolina. He returned to Greenport following college and became varsity coach there in 1979, guiding the Porters to three New York State final fours in his career.

Mr. Edwards held that job until retiring in July 2013. He’s among those in the first class inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame and was named The Suffolk Times Educator of the Year in 2013.

As Ms. Cornine started to talk about one suggestion of putting a picture of Mr. Edwards on the gym floor, his wife, Denise, shook her head in disappointment.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “He’s very private and he doesn’t like stuff like that.”

Ms. Edwards then suggested the district consider naming an auxiliary gym, not the main gymnasium, after her husband.

“The small gym is where he made his name,” she said. “The small gym is the gym he made his points. He was basically the star of that gym. If you’re going to do anything for him, put something outside on the wall, don’t make it big and don’t put his face on the floor.”

School officials are currently researching other districts’ naming policies.

[email protected]