Sheila Brown first presented the idea of renaming Woodrow Wilson’s baseball field after coach Tom Parham to the Raleigh County Board of Education in April. But the thought was hatched long before that.
Brown and Parham both became full-time teachers at Woodrow in 1974 — Brown social studies and physical education, Parham biology. Parham was also brought on as the baseball coach, and it was through those responsibilities that Brown saw Parham for the man he is.
“In the afternoons, I would watch Coach leave the biology department, completely not looking like he had (earlier in the day),” she said. “He was in sweats, and I can still picture him with all those garden tools, going to the field. Working, scratching, lining the field. And it was rocky; it was awful. He worked tirelessly.
“He was a great part of what we have, and way back then I knew that he deserved the honor to have that field bear his name.”
Forty-three years later, it finally has become reality.
The baseball field that was first played on in 1982 was officially dedicated to Parham on Saturday with a ceremony proclaiming it Thomas F. Parham Field. About 200 family members, friends and former players and students attended the festivities that began in the school’s cafeteria before moving to the field for the plaque’s unveiling.
“It means the world. It is a very humbling experience,” Parham said. “I have been trying to think of words to express myself, but everyone who came out, I see so many friends, so many former ball players, umpires, boosters. It’s just really touching. I had family that came here from out of state. I was trying to put something together to say, but all I can say is it is a humbling experience.”
Parham was the head baseball coach at Woodrow from the 1975 season until his retirement from coaching in 2000….