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What's in a Name?

Featured Photo from What's in a Name?

Meet the local men and women who lend their names and legacies to athletic facilities throughout our community

High schools in Seminole County understand the importance of legacy, and few things are as special as recognizing alumni, faculty, and benefactors by naming a school’s sports facility in their honor. It’s a tribute those fortunate enough to experience will never forget – and neither will we. Let’s take a tour of some christened fields and stadiums around town: 

Hagerty High School

Christy Tibbitts-Bryce Softball Field

 Christy Tibbitts-Bryce has many athletic firsts on her dossier, so it is fitting her name graces the sports venue where she left her finest legacy. In 2016, Hagerty High’s first softball coach and first athletic director was honored with the dedication of the Christy Tibbitts-Bryce Softball Field.

“There was an impromptu faculty meeting in the auditorium that I was not too happy about attending,” Christy grins. “But then I walked in and saw my family, friends, faculty, players, and past players. It blew me away.”

Christy, who is now assistant principal at Hagerty, last coached softball in 2009. A graduate of Lake Howell High, she interned as a softball coach at Lyman High while attending the University of Central Florida. Upon graduation in 1991, she was given Lyman’s head coaching job, where she remained until coming to Hagerty. 

Sam Momary Stadium

 This facility, serving football, soccer, track, and lacrosse, is also named after the school’s first principal. Sam Momary, who retired in 2013 and now lives in Atlanta, opened Hagerty High in 2005. His career in education spanned 41 years, including coaching baseball and football at Oviedo High and Lake Brantley High and serving as principal at Lyman High before taking the helm at Hagerty.

The naming of the stadium was revealed at a surprise ceremony in 2008 prior to the school’s first-ever varsity football game.
“The evening was supposed to be precise and stay on schedule,” Sam recalls with a laugh. “As a math person, I like things to be detailed and logical, and when things were falling behind, I was getting irritated. Then they called me out onto the field and unveiled the banner. It was and is such an honor. It completely took me by surprise.”

Winter Springs High School

AW Epps Stadium
Home to Bears football, soccer, and lacrosse, AW Epps Stadium is the sole sports facility on the WSHS campus to bear a moniker. Named for Aubrey Wayne Epps, who enjoyed a 32-year career with the Seminole County Public Schools system, the stadium was dedicated in 1999. Known as Wayne, he served as principal at Oviedo High and Seminole High before opening WSHS in 1996, where he remained until retirement in 2000. Mr. Epps passed away in 2017.

The Master’s Academy

Rick Lee Field
The Master’s Academy owes a lot to Rick Lee’s forward thinking. Back in the late 1990s, the school was in trouble. Rick, president of Citizens Bank of Florida, and the school’s chairman of the board Mike Batts devised a plan to keep the school open.

“It was a leap of faith on our part,” says Rick, whose kids attended The Master’s Academy. “My career and his reputation were on the line.” 

The plan was a resounding success, but Rick sought no recognition. Nonetheless, at his final board meeting in 2014, members walked him over to the baseball stadium where a surprise gathering stood beneath his name. 

“Totally unnecessary,” Rick says of the honor. “I was serving God as a board member.”

Oviedo High School

Robert W. Lundquist Gymnasium
The Oviedo High campus is home to a wealth of sports facilities named for former and present Lions. The Robert W. Lundquist Gymnasium honors the longtime principal at Oviedo, whose career spanned 40 years, 18 of which were spent at OHS. He was honored with the naming of the gymnasium in 2007, during a December basketball game.

“Before the game started, I saw my daughter,” Robert remembers. “She lives in Atlanta. Then I saw friends not affiliated with the school. I was stunned. Certainly it is an honor, but as I always say, it’s all about the kids, the teachers, and the community. But to have my name up there forever – I guess forever – that is quite an honor.”

Jenny Barringer Simpson Track
One of the most celebrated athletes to wear Oviedo High’s orange and black, Jenny (Barringer) Simpson is a three-time Olympian, earning a bronze medal in Rio in 2016. And in 2018, OHS paid tribute to her accomplishments by naming the school’s track in her honor.

Jenny began running in the third grade as a newcomer to Florida.

“It was very hard trying to meet friends,” she says. “My PE teacher suggested I join the cross-country team at Partin Elementary to meet some kids.”

Fast-forward a few decades, and Jenny says she almost missed her Oviedo High dedication.

“My former coach at Oviedo High, Jay Getty, wanted me to attend a 5K fundraiser as a favor, but I was tired,” Jenny says. “Then I thought of how much Oviedo had done for me, and the community had never asked for anything in return. I am so glad I came! It was a little surreal and a total surprise. I could not believe they thought I was worthy. It made me stop, take a breath, and see how far I had come.”

John Courier Field
Ruckus Friday nights under the lights in the fall is what John Courier surely had in mind when he donated the land on which the Oviedo High football field now sits. John Edward Courier, Jr. – the grandfather of tennis great Jim Courier – is credited with launching the OHS football program in the 1960s. He passed away in 1965.

Mikler Field
Home to Lions baseball, the field is named in honor of Paul and Virginia Mikler, who moved to Oviedo in 1957. Paul was a longtime baseball coach at OHS; Virginia served as the school’s librarian for 20 years. The field was dedicated in 1994. Paul passed away in 2000; Virginia in 2009. They were married for 55 years.

Ed Kershner Court
With a career coaching record of 901-364, who else but Ed Kershner would have their name emblazoned on the basketball court at Oviedo High’s Robert W. Lundquist Gymnasium? The winningest coach in Florida high-school basketball history, Ed hung up his whistle in 2017 after a stellar 48-year career. 

A recent inductee into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s National Hall of Fame, Coach Kershner grew up with the game in basketball-rich Indiana. His mom coached, his dad was a referee, and he played high-school ball.  
Like many naming dedications, Ed remembers being astonished to discover the court was being named in his honor at a ceremony during graduation. 

“Even when they called me up front and started talking about my lucky moments and years of service, I still hadn’t figured it out,” he says. “I am so humbled and so honored.”

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