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Smithsburg field officially renamed Coach Carroll Reid Field

September 12, 2009|By By BOB PARASILITI

SMITHSBURG -- Mother Nature called in a favor in honor of Carroll Reid.

When Friday's rain caused the cancellation of the ceremonies to name Smithsburg High School's football field in his honor, it put the late, great Leopards football coach back in his domain.

The festivities to officially open Coach Carroll Reid Field were held right before the start of a Saturday afternoon game, a fitting tribute to the man who created nearly all of his coaching achievements on this plot of land where the Leopards played daytime football on weekends.

"I told my mom last night that this is when he would have liked to have this done -- on a Saturday afternoon," said Andy Reid, the coach's son. "He wouldn't have wanted it (Friday) to take away from the country being busy commemorating 9/11. He so loved coaching on Saturday afternoon."

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Reid established the Smithsburg program and ran it from 1967 to 1997, compiling a 206-102-2 record and winning four Maryland Class 1A state championships. He died March 29 at the age of 80, a few months after being honored by Smithsburg at a football game.

Thanks to the rainout, Saturday brought out a decent crowd for the event, which included the unveiling of a newly designed electronic scoreboard at the entrance end of the field. It wasn't perfect weather -- overcast and chilly -- but it was football weather.

"He would have been upset we didn't play last night in the rain," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff, who was a longtime assistant under Reid. "This has been long overdue. It would have been a humbling day for him."

The 10-minute, pregame ceremony included words of thanks from Smithsburg athletic director Teresa Bachtell and the formal dedication of the field by project coordinator Brian Smith, who played for Reid.

"It is often said life is like a book," Smith said. "One chapter ends and another one begins. On March 29, Coach died to end one chapter, and today, another one begins."

Reid's family was honored on the track that circles the field now accented by a new scoreboard.

The board is decorated in purple with gold trim -- Smithsburg's school colors -- with a large electronic message board. Across the top, in illuminated white lettering, reads "Coach Carroll Reid Field."

Underneath the scoreboard is the banner honoring the school's five state championships -- those in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1994 that were won by Reid and the 1976 title won by Ray Montini when he filled in while Reid was battling cancer.

The board didn't have a great debut, though, considering Smithsburg lost 51-0 to Walkersville.

Smith spearheaded the campaign to have the field renamed for Reid and helped raise $26,000 in contributions. After paying for the scoreboard upgrade, the remaining funds were used to establish the Carroll Reid Scholarship Fund, which honored Bethany Garnand as the first recipient of the award.

"He would be extremely proud today," Andy Reid said. "He would be really glad to see the money raised was being used to help the program and help the kids."

After Reid left, he never really left the program. In his later years, he would watch games from his car from a parking spot right behind the fence in the end zone.

Saturday was a gesture to make sure Reid stayed with the program forever.

"A man is only gone when he is forgotten," Smith said. "This is to make sure he will always be remembered."

Reid's accomplishments are worth remembering.

"He knew this was coming (before he died) and that meant a lot," Orndorff said. "That meant he meant something special to the school. He was the pioneer of a champion."

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