The main uncertainty surrounding Glouster Memorial Stadium in 2017 had nothing to do with poor attendance or lack of community involvement. Rather, it was about that green piece of paper that everyone strives to get, money.
In Fall of 2017, Glouster Memorial Stadium, the home football field of Trimble High School, was deemed “unsafe”, making the bleachers unusable. All of the 2017-2018 football season was still played at the field, but temporary stands were all that the citizens of Glouster could sit on.
“Most people in our town like to stand during the games anyhow,” Phil Faires, head coach of Trimble’s football team said. “It’s just how into the games people are. We were never worried about the attendance issue.”
Attendance wasn’t an issue but the people of Glouster still rallied for the rebuilding of Glouster Memorial Stadium, and by week 6 against Trimble’s rival Waterford, the stands were finally complete.
Max Hooper is one of eight seniors on the Tomcat football team, and he said he thinks the transition between stadiums could even be considered a positive experience for those on the field.
“In some ways it was nicer because with everyone standing on the fence they were a lot closer and more engaged into the game,” Hooper said. “Also you could hear what everyone was saying about the game so it was just a completely different atmosphere.”
Although both coach and players agree that fans were still extremely involved with the team, a new stadium needed to be built and built cheap.
That’s where Jerry Lackey comes into the picture. Lackey was the head of the entire operation, acting as the driving force for changes at Glouster Memorial Stadium. With new stands being just phase one of a three phase project, he pinpointed exactly what Trimble’s problems were.
“The main roadblock was that we needed a ton of money and didn’t have any of it, “ Lackey said. “With $5,000 needed for bleachers, $200,000 for new lights and around $80,000 for a new locker room and concession stand, it can become pretty daunting planning a project like this.”
They needed to fundraise, and especially ask around the community for large donors. In a short amount of time, Lackey found them.
“We had Nelsonville resident Joe Edwards and his family who were willing to step forward to help us, and State Representative Jay Edwards had his contacts to ensure us that we had the support and large chunks of money to at least get the bleachers started,” Lackey said.
Even though the new bleachers were finished in 2018 and citizens of Glouster were able to enjoy them mid-way through the schedule last football season, there is a lot more to be done at Glouster Memorial Stadium.
“Where we are right now is all because of the amazing people in the community who stepped forward to help,” Lackey said. “It is an extreme success and I wouldn’t have believed it two years ago, but we still have more to do and it’ll take some time to get there.”
Phase one is complete, but like Lackey said, more needs to be done. Phase two includes getting brand new lights that they will need to be finished and put up before the first home game in the fall of 2019. Phase three can be done carefully, as it doesn’t affect the play on the field. Rather, they are trying to build a new locker room and concession stand.
With such a rich history of football and the backing of the community surrounding Trimble High School, it is no surprise that the rebuild of Glouster Memorial Stadium is already off to a great start.