A memorial project to recognize W. D. Newby and Newby Field will soon be complete, and an unveiling ceremony is planned for Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. in the J.R. Holder Wellness Center on the campus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. The project began when friends and former colleagues of Newby wanted others to know of the man and the athletic facility for which he was responsible.
“We don’t want to forget our history,” John Barton, chair of the project, said. “He influenced the lives of hundreds of people in a positive way, and I was one of them.”
Newby was hired to coach football at Northwestern in 1927, and in 1929, he led efforts to improve the football field. He personally worked to level, sod and water the field and remove sand burrs. Northwestern students honored Newby when they voted to name the facility Newby Field.
Newby left Northwestern in 1933 but returned in 1943 to direct physical training for the 92nd College Training Detachment (Air Crew) of the Army Air Corps and to head the college physical education department. For 13 years, he served as athletic director at Northwestern before becoming assistant professor of health and physical education in 1958. From 1959 to 1963, he was mayor of Alva. He died in 1964 at the age of 64.
A committee, organized by Barton, solicited ideas and raised funds for the project. Other members of the committee include Jim Barker, Bob Battisti, Skeeter Bird, Yvonne Carmichael, Wayne Lane, Steve Valencia and Marie Kadavy.
The dedication ceremony will include the unveiling of a timeline, complete with pictures of Newby and Newby Field, which will hang in the Wellness Center, and a stone monument just outside the north entrance of the Wellness Center identifying the site as the former Newby Field. In addition, a plaque on the Newby Field ticket booth, which still stands, will pay tribute to the Northwestern athletes who once played there.
The ceremony, with a response by Newby’s daughter, Marty Gamble, is open to the public. A reception will follow before the Rangers take on Southern Oregon University at 1 p.m. at Ranger Stadium. For more information, please call Kadavy at the Northwestern Foundation at 580-327-8598.
Wed, November 10, 2010
by Ryan Hintergardt