The Field at Memorial Stadium officially named “Ernest Hawkins Field”; Dedication ceremony to take place November 4.
COMMERCE – Upon approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents last Thursday, the football field at Memorial Stadium on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus will now be known as Ernest Hawkins Field.
Thanks to the early success of the Hawkins Legacy Campaign, Ernest Hawkins Field will be officially dedicated on November 4, prior to kickoff of the Lions’ final regular season home game of 2017 against UT-Permian Basin. Game time is 4 p.m.
“Ernest Hawkins represents everything right about Texas A&M University-Commerce and Lion Athletics,” 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 was the Lions’ head coach from 1964-85 and is the winningest coach in the program’s history with an all-time record of 132-92-6. He led East Texas State to the NAIA National Championship in 1972 and won four Lone Star Conference championships in 1966, 1969, 1972, and 1983, earning LSC Coach of the Year honors in each of those seasons.
Hawkins was inducted into the Lion Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor in 2004.
“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 noted. “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.”
The Hawkins Field Legacy Campaign has raised over $243,000 towards football program capital and scholarship support in just over a month. All gifts will be 100 percent invested in capital improvements and summer scholarships for the Lion football program, including construction and maintenance of a new locker room facility and team meeting space for football team meetings and instruction.
In a statement from Coach Hawkins family (daughters LuAnne Bourland and Kathy Campbell and son Ray Hawkins), they echoed their enthusiasm for this legacy endeavor:
“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.”
For more information on the Hawkins Field Legacy Campaign, please visit www.LionAthletics.com/hawkins.