Evan Thompson / The Record Jim “Coach” Leierer’s daughter, Nanette Pierson (left) and community member Jon Chapman (right) stand on South Whidbey High School’s football field next to a picture of the deceased coach. The school board unanimously approved the stadium be renamed after longtime football coach Jim “Coach” Leierer on Wednesday night.

‘Coach’ lives on — School board renaming SW stadium

Even when he was in his 90s, Jim “Coach” Leierer was never far from the sidelines.

And last week the South Whidbey School Board unanimously approved the renaming of South Whidbey High School’s stadium the “Jim Leierer Stadium at Waterman Field.”

The longtime football coach died in June at the age of 92.

The stadium will officially be renamed next fall during the Falcons’ first home football game. Also that day, there will be a formal dedication with a plaque showing the new name.

Leierer coached at Langley and South Whidbey High Schools from 1953-82. He was also a teacher, driver’s education instructor and was active in his church.

The idea was first presented to the school board in July by community member Jon Chapman. A decision was put on hold until it was determined whether the school board had the ability to rename facilities.

A policy adopted by the South Whidbey School District in September granted them that power.

Chapman created a social media page called “Jim Leierer Stadium – Support Team” to build support for the name change, eventually gaining backing from more than 12,000 people.

Chapman said the approval of the name change is the result of combined support from the community and those whose lives were touched by Leierer.

“It was cool because it was a lot of teamwork,” Chapman said. “I knew the community would get behind it.”

“The superintendent, I’ve got to thank her for getting behind it, and the board voting unanimously to do it,” Chapman said. “That was cool to see.”

Langley resident Nanette Pierson, one of Leierer’s daughters, said she believes her father would be overjoyed by the stadium being named after him.

“It means a lot to our family and I feel like the community has just been amazing,” she said. “It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of comments on Facebook and the appreciation and love for him.”