Nordonia High School ballfield named for longtime coach

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Nordonia High School athletic director Rob Eckenrode at the school's baseball field. The field will be named for longtime coach and educator Bernie Hovan.

MACEDONIA -- Nordonia High School baseball players will now "batter up" on the Bernie Hovan Memorial Field during home games.

The Nordonia Hills school board unanimously approved naming the high school's baseball field for the longtime coach and educator at its March 22 meeting.

"He's a legend in the baseball world and teaching world," said Superintendent Joe Clark. 

Mr. 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, said Michael Hovan, Mr. Hovan's oldest son. 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.

More:Nordonia High School baseball field could be named for late coach

"My family, especially my mother, have been overwhelmed with the tremendous support for this initiative," Michael Hovan said. "The now hundreds of people that have reached out in support of this effort has been so appreciated, and we think [this] simply proves how deserving this honor is for my father at Nordonia High School." 

Hovan said that a dedication ceremony is planned for May 8 at the baseball field before the scheduled varsity baseball game against the Hoover Vikings. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

"We are having a sign made that will mount on the outfield scoreboard that says 'Bernie Hovan Memorial Field,'" Hovan said. 

Creative Designs in Oakwood Village, owned by Nordonia alum Chris Corradino, has agreed to donate the sign, the plaque, and monument design, Hovan said. Another Nordonia High School alum, Joe Colucci of Colucci Contracting Inc. in Northfield Center, will do the brick laying for the actual pedestal where the plaque will be mounted. Both have agreed to provide the work at cost, Hovan said.

"[Corradino] is also coordinating efforts in some metalwork and brick-laying from Nordonia alumni who have also agreed to do the work at cost," Hovan said. "We are having a monument made that will be positioned at the field. It will be made out of the same brick as the stadium so that it matches aesthetically. On top of the mount will be a plaque in either granite or bronze that will be laser engraved with a picture of my dad and with his various awards and recognitions so people will remember him in to the future." 

There will be a fundraising campaign in this month for anyone that would like to donate to help pay for the memorial at the field, Hovan said. Details will be announced in the near future, he added.

Bernard "Bernie" Hovan


Raising Cane's donates $50,000 toward turf

The school board also unanimously accepted a $50,000 donation from Raising Cane's toward a new turf for the high school's Boliantz Stadium.

The money will be paid out in $5,000 increments over 10 years, Clark said. 

Raising Cane's is expected to open a new Macedonia restaurant in late May. 

"The downside is there's no free chicken fingers for the superintendent," Clark said during the meeting, which made those attending laugh. He added that the first $5,000 will go toward the current turf replacement, "and the rest of it will be going to when we have to replace the turf in another 10 years from now."

The district has been able to raise about $220,000 of the $415,000 needed, said Rob Eckenrode, athletic director. This includes the donation from Raising Cane's.

Community meetings

The school board will host a forum on April 21, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Northfield Elementary School gymnasium. 

The April 21 forum has no set agenda, and there will be no presentations by the board or the administrative team. The 90-minute meeting will be for community feedback. District administrators will be in attendance to answer questions.

Masks and proper social distancing will be required. The open forum will be recorded and available on the district’s website within a few days after the meeting.

In addition, the Nordonia schools will sponsor an online community meeting, "Unity in the School Community," on April 27 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Nordonia families and community members will get a chance to meet the leaders of the Nordonia Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and learn about the programming the Nordonia Hills City School District provides for students and staff in this area. An opportunity will be provided to give feedback. 

Registration is required for this event; details can be found on the school district's website.

For details, visit www.nordoniaschools.org. 

Next board meeting

The school board will next meet April 26 at 7 p.m. at Northfield Elementary School, 9374 Olde Eight Road in Northfield Center.

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