Give recognition where it’s due

Nicki Tyska

Peace out, peoples!!!


Three weeks ago I wrote a story about three superfans at Linfield and one of them mentioned stories about him and famous Linfield coach and sports director Paul Durham. While reading through the Linfield sports Web site for information on Durham, I was awed by all this coach had done at Linfield.

He was responsible for the high level of athleticism our football team has reached; he brought the University of Hawaii from NAIA competition to NCAA Division I football; he was inducted to six halls of fame; and he was loved by the athletes he coached and the people who knew him.

That next week for the May 9 issue of the Review, I learned a story would be written on athletic facilities on campus and where these buildings received their christenings; I became curious to know what place Linfield had named after Durham.

I’ve been attending Linfield for three years now, and I had yet to hear of a Durham location around campus. But with a reputation such as Durham’s, I figured Linfield must have named something important after him—it would only be fitting. To my surprise, I learned the only recognition Durham received was a foyer. Yep, a foyer.

At first I thought my co-staff member was kidding when she told me what was named after Durham, but she knows how to fact check, and she was right. The foyer adjacent to the trophy case in the Health, Human Performance and Athletics Complex is named after Durham and includes a plaque dedicated to him. Is that all Linfield could give to one of the greatest men to come to this school?

Normally, I continuously sing Linfield’s praises. I love this school, and I don’t mind sharing my feelings, but in this instance I have to say Linfield has got it all wrong.

I know when it comes to the naming of buildings, much of it is centered around bequests. Good friends of the college who have donated a piece of property or a large financial sum to have a facility built will generally have the resulting edifice named after them, e.g. the Nicholson library. However, Linfield does recognize its legends, such as the Roy Helser Field or the Ted Wilson Gymnasium; fields, the field house and even the HHPA itself, all of these were named for Linfield legends. So why did Durham get shortchanged?

Durham was not just a football coach. He helped build the entire sports program at Linfield and established the solid foundation it has. Durham was also involved in other aspects of the school. He participated in theater and music  as  a student. I’ve spoken with alumni about Durham, and they said he was always available for them and truly cared about the well-being of his students and Linfield as a whole. He was not just a coach but a friend and father figure to many.

After talking with alumni and reading about everything Durham did throughout his lifetime, all I can do is admit my disappointment at what has been done with his memory. A man who is so much a part of Linfield history deserves more than an entrance to a gym. 

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