Lions set to rename football field Nov. 4

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Lions set to rename football field Nov. 4

The Lions will rename the football field in honor of their winningest coach.

The Lions will rename the football field in honor of their winningest coach.

Lion Athletics

The Lions will rename the football field in honor of their winningest coach.

Lion Athletics

Lion Athletics

The Lions will rename the football field in honor of their winningest coach.

BJ Laudermilk, Sports Editor

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The A&M-Commerce Lions football team will be making some changes to the field they play their home games on for the end of the season and beyond, giving it a new name.

Memorial Stadium will now host Ernest Hawkins Field, named after the winningest coach in Lion history. The field will be renamed and dedicated prior to the Lions regular season home finale against UT-Permian Basin on Nov. 4.

Hawkins was the head coach of the Lions between 1964-85 and led the Lions to the NAIA National Championship in 1972. He finished his career with an all-time record of 132-92-6, a .574 winning percentage. He won four Lone Star Conference championships in 1966, 1969, 1972, and 1983, also earning LSC Coach of the Year honors in each of those seasons.

“Ernest Hawkins represents everything right about Texas A&M University-Commerce and Lion Athletics,” university president Dr. Ray M. Keck said. “We are thrilled to honor Coach Hawkins in this lasting and meaningful way.  So many ET and A&M-Commerce alumni and friends have stepped up in the initial stages of this campaign to make it a reality.”

Hawkins is a Lion Athletics Hall of Famer (inducted in 1988) and a Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor inductee (2004). The Hawkins Field Legacy Campaign has raised almost $250,000 towards football program capital and scholarships in a just over a month. The donations will be invested in summer scholarships and improvements for the football team, including construction of a new locker room facility and team meeting space.

“When we discuss ‘Best in Class’, Ernest Hawkins, his wonderful family, and his Lion legacy are at the front of the line,” Director of Athletics Tim McMurray said. “To see the outpouring of record philanthropic support in the initial stages of the Hawkins Legacy Campaign is truly gratifying.  It sends a strong message about honoring the history, pride, and tradition associated with Coach Hawkins’ impact.”

Coach Hawkins’s family said in a statement: “The Hawkins Family certainly has a vested interest in the naming of Hawkins Field, as our father literally built the field from dirt to grass. In 1964, when Dad became ETSC head football coach, one of his top priorities was to improve the football field, not only for appearance, but also for the safety of the players. It was an honor to be part of the “field crew” to help dad chalk the field before games.  His name being on Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium is a true honor. We are so grateful to all the former student-athletes and alumni that dad influenced who have helped make this a reality.”

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