Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kitchings May Have Name on Stadium

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kitchings May Have Name on Stadium

Article excerpt

In 1969, four years after Raines High School opened, Earl

Kitchings was among a group of coaches that asked the School

Board to build a football stadium on campus.

It took about 10 years to get the stadium approved for Raines,

a model high school built for African-Americans.

"Some people didn't want us to have it," he said.

But the stadium was built, and Raines became a football

powerhouse thanks to the foundation laid by Kitchings.

Now, more than 30 years later, School Board member Jimmie

Johnson wants to recognize Kitchings for his contributions.

Johnson recommended to the School Board this month to rename

the Raines football stadium after Kitchings, the school's first

athletic director and head coach. The proposed name change is

the "Earl S. Kitchings Stadium."

The School Board was scheduled to consider the recommendation

yesterday.

Johnson, who replaced Kitchings after he became vice principal

at Fletcher High School, said it takes five of seven School

Board members to suspend the rules to name a facility after a

living person.

Renaming the stadium, Johnson said, will introduce current

students to one of the school's pioneers who played a strong

role in Raines' rich athletic tradition.

"The school is trying to improve its image," said Johnson, a

former Raines' principal. "Kitchings has been a servant in the

community and has lived in the community. He is a good role

model."

And he wanted students at Raines to have what other students

had. After the stadium was built, Kitchings lugged a hose across

the field to water areas the sprinkler he helped to install

could not reach.

"That's why my back hurts," said Kitchings, 71, who helped

build the stadium's original steel bleachers. "Every time I get

out of the chair, I can feel the pain go through my back from

all the sweat of trying to develop that football field."

Kitchings didn't stop at the football field. He developed

Raines' athletic department.

"When I look back, we did what we were supposed to do," he

said. "We set the stage. It was somebody else's to carry

through. …

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