Oneida, TN (2017-08-10) In a split decision, the Oneida Special School District Board of Education has agreed to name the football stadium at Oneida High School after late Coach Jim May.
“With that vote, the stadium will be named Jim May Memorial Stadium,” Chairwoman Dr. Nancy Williamson declared following a 3 to 2 split decision by the Oneida Board of Education Thursday night to name the stadium in honor of the late coach. Members Floyd H. (Brom) Shoemaker and Dorothy Watson cast the dissenting votes.
“When so many have contributed, I don’t think it’s right to put one person above everyone else,” Watson commented. While Watson voted against naming the stadium in honor of May, she acknowledged that he had impacted a lot of lives during his tenure at the school. “He was a great man,” she said. Watson went on to say she felt May’s accomplishments had already been recognized in many ways, including a tribute at the front entrance to the stadium, signage in the end zone, and a picture on the team’s equipment trailer.
Shoemaker did not comment on his reason for voting against the idea.
The naming of the stadium in May’s honor marks the 20th anniversary of May’s death, who passed away after suffering a heart attack on the sidelines of a football game in October 1997. He was 57.
There have been many successful coaches in Oneida’s past, but May has the longest and most successful coaching career in the school’s history, leading the football team from 1981 to 1997 and earning an overall record of 140 wins and 55 losses. At the pinnacle of his coaching career, May led the Indian football squad to its only state championship in the school’s history—a 13-10 win over Battle Ground Academy in 1992. He was inducted into the TSSAA Football Hall of Fame in 2006—nine years after his untimely death.