County commissioners backed off Tuesday on renaming Durham County Memorial Stadium after Willie Bradshaw after hearing from the facility’s authority and veteran organizations.
Instead the commissioners plan to vote Sept. 28 to rename the field after Bradshaw and place his name in prominent positions in the stadium.
Commissioners were considering the change after a resident requested it following Bradshaw’s death in March.
Bradshaw was a longtime coach at Hillside High School and was the first black athletic director for the merged Durham city/county schools. He helped integrate high school athletics in North Carolina during the 1960s and was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2010.
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On Tuesday Tommy Hunt, a 30-year member of the Memorial Stadium Authority and a longtime friend of Bradshaw, told commissioners he and the rest of the authority opposed the change. County officials’ research indicates the word memorial was included in the nearly 50-year-old stadium to honor veterans of World Wars I and II.
“I know Willie would be appalled and ashamed to take this memorial from his fellow veterans and place his name in their place,” Hunt said.
The county also received letters from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and The American Legion opposing the change.