Board moving ahead with wall of fame

NAUGATUCK — The outer walls of the athletic complex at Naugatuck High School could soon feature a wall of fame for the school’s coaches who have had a positive effect on students.

The Board of Education decided Thursday to move forward with the idea after contemplating how to appropriately honor those who have gone above and beyond on behalf of student-athletes.

“We want to recognize not only (outgoing boys’ soccer coach) Art Nunes, but other coaches who have made contributions to the district over the years,” school board Chairwoman Dorothy Neth-Kunin said.

Board member David Heller will head the wall of fame committee, which will determine how to go about accepting nominations for the wall. It will feature brass-colored metal illustrations of the coaches that are taken from photos contributed to designers. The cost of the wall has yet to be determined.

The board took up the discussion recently after former Athletic Director Tom Pompei suggested naming the school’s new synthetic turf field after Nunes, who retired following the fall season after a long and storied career that saw the soccer program turn from mediocre to a perennial Naugatuck Valley League powerhouse and state title contender.

Board of Education members, who have balked at naming anything after someone several times in the past, also had reservations about naming the field after Nunes. Everyone agreed Nunes had done a remarkable job for the school and its players, but board members said naming a field after one person, when there could be other qualified candidates, might make for some uncomfortable discussions and hard feelings. Additionally, the entire outdoor athletic complex at the high school is named Veterans Field.

“The board didn’t want to upset veterans, who obviously deserve to have a place at our fields,” Heller said.

The wall would be outside of the pool area at the school, which is also next to the basketball courts and leads to the entrance to the football, soccer, baseball and softball fields and the track.

The wall would be the latest project in an effort to completely remodel the high school. The borough recently completed a three-year, $81 million renovate-to-new project that transformed nearly every square inch of the building and its athletic complexes.