Chuck Landon: New ballpark should be named for Jack Cook
Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
There is no such thing as an “open” week when it comes to opinions.
>> If a Marshall University ballpark is built, will it be named Jack Cook Stadium as it should be?
Or will officials have their hands out asking for a $1 million “naming” fee?
The correct move - politically and otherwise - would be to name it after coach Cook with no questions asked. The 92-year-old iconic coach certainly deserves it.
Yet, that hasn’t been the case in the past.
When the new Marshall Sports Medicine Institute was built everyone assumed it would be named after the late Dr. Jose Ricard, who founded sports medicine at Marshall.
But that wasn’t the case.
Instead, according to sources, the Ricard family was asked for a $1 million donation to have it named after him.
It was shameful.
And it remains nameless.
A similar scenario occurred with the student recreation center, which also still doesn’t have a name. Public sentiment favored naming it after Dr. Paul Ambrose, a Huntington native, who perished in the 9/11 attacks. But, again, a naming fee was required.
Why, the ownership of The Herald-Dispatch had to pony up $50,000 in order for the press box at Joan C. Edwards Stadium to be named the “Ernie Salvatore Press Box.”
That’s why the indoor practice facility is part of the Chris Cline Athletic Complex. It’s also why the new soccer stadium is named the Hoops Family Field.
It involved donations for naming rights.
And, yes, I understand that is the way of the collegiate athletics world these days. But there has to be exceptions to this school of thought. And I can’t think of a more deserving exception than coach Cook.
It’s simply the right thing to do.
>> Speaking of the new ballpark, there are more questions than answers right now.
Namely, who is going to build the ballpark - Marshall or the city of Huntington? After all, the city paid $1.2 million for the property.
So, perhaps, Marshall simply would be a tenant and pay rent to the city. And, then, the city also could bring in a short-season professional rookie league franchise from, say, the Appalachian League as another tenant.
That would be a nice summertime attraction in Huntington.
Or maybe Marshall plans to purchase the land from the city and include it in the financial package when officials begin soliciting for donations.
So, yes, there are a lot of questions to be answered.
And they probably will be answered later than sooner.
>> Is this bye week coming at a good time or bad time for Marshall’s football program?
Indeed, it is a twin-edged sword.
On the one hand, it allows linebacker Chase Hancock, cornerback Jaylen McClain-Sapp and running backs Tyler King and Anthony Anderson to recover from injuries and be healthy by the time Marshall plays Southern Miss on Nov. 3 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
But, on the other hand, Marshall is on a roll. The Herd has won two in a row. Furthermore, the 42-20 win over Old Dominion and the 31-7 victory over Florida Atlantic last Saturday were Marshall’s two best performances of the 2018 season.
That’s why players such as quarterback Alex Thomson wish Marshall was playing this Saturday instead of having the bye week.
It’s called momentum.
And let’s be honest, it’s very difficult to sustain momentum during a bye week.
It could go, well, bye-bye.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com.