Nordonia High School baseball field could be named for late coach

April Helms
Akron Beacon Journal
There is a proposal to name the Nordonia High School baseball field “The Bernie Hovan Memorial Field.”
Nordonia High School athletic director Rob Eckenrode at the school's baseball field. There was a recent presentation to name the field for longtime coach Bernie Hovan.

MACEDONIA -- In the future, Nordonia High School baseball and softball players may be playing on The Bernie Hovan Memorial Field.

The Nordonia Hills school board is expected to vote on a proposal to name the high school's baseball field after the longtime educator and coach, who died last December at its March 22 meeting.

Michael Hovan, Bernie Hovan's oldest son, said during the Feb. 22 school board meeting that his father "loved his career here."

"But he was most proud of his baseball program," Michael Hovan said. "He loved his community."

Bernie Hovan, who died Dec. 10 at age 81 due to issues related to COVID-19, was a teacher and coach with the Nordonia Hills City Schools from 1965 to 1994, Michael Hovan said. As well as baseball, he also coached football, wrestling and girls tennis. He was named "Man of the Year" in 1987 by the Greater Cleveland Baseball Coaches Association, and was named to the Northeast Ohio Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and he Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association in 1989.

He was named to the Nordonia Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, and to the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. He was selected to coach at six Northeast Ohio High School Baseball All-Star Teams between 1979 and 198.

In all, Michael Hoven said his father, who lived in Sagamore Hills, had more than 350 wins as varsity baseball coach. “The Bernie Hovan Memorial Student Athlete Annual Scholarship” awards $500 annually for a graduating Nordonia High School senior. 

Michael Hoven said that there were more than 1,000 likes and more than 225 comments when the proposal was made on social media, and that alumni were "in favor of this proposal."

Rob Eckenrode, the athletic director for the district, said he got to know Bernie Hovan when Eckenrode joined the district in 2006. 

"Bernie was special," Eckenrode said. "He was a Nordonia Knight through and through." 

Bernie Hovan is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean C. Hovan. In addition to Michael Hovan, he also was the father of John L. Hovan, Debbie J. Chesser and David C. Hovan. 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com