The athletic field of Petrova High School was named Ken Wilson Field in 1987 in honor of long time coach, principal and superintendent Ken Wilson.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 23, 1987

SL football field to be named for Wilson


SARANAC LAKE — Members of the local school board Wednesday approved a request to name the football field at Petrova School in honor of former coach and Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Wilson.

The petition to rename the field, submitted by the reunion committee of the Classes of 1935-41, received unanimous support from the seven board members after a brief discussion.

"I'm very impressed with his record," said Leslie Handler. "He never touched my life personally, but the interest of a group of Saranac Lake High School graduates to dedicate the field to his memory and their efforts . . . I would support a motion to name the field after him."

Wilson led the Saranac Lake football team to seven consecutive Adirondack League championships beginning in 1926. That year he outscored his opponents 180-0.

"He was always looking for the best competition," said Donald Dupree, who headed the reunion committee's efforts. "He was the coach of the whole school — basketball, track, skating, and baseball as well. He was really interested in the kids."

Wilson was temporary principal from 1942-44, while William Hafer was serving in the war. Hafer came back in 1945 and then left the school system in 1946, making room for Wilson to return.

He also served as superintendent of schools from 1955 to 1960. He died in 1972 at the age of 74.

"The committee thinks there should be some kind of tie between the past, present and future, and we hope this will be one," he explained the committee's reason for the petition. "We hope it will create more pride and interest in the school and the town."

There was a time when store windows would be decorated before games, and students had pep rallies and bonfires, according to Dupree.

"It was almost carnival-like," he said. "That's the type of spirit we'd like to see return."

Thomas Christopher, superintendent of schools read a memo he received from John Raymond, the district's current football coach and athletic director, supporting the committee's proposal.

Raymond also said that the efforts of this group who thought so highly of Wilson are something to be recognized.

"They did a real good job. My hat's off to the reunion committee," he said.

Board member John Wagner pointed out that Wilson was interested in and accomplished in different areas.

"A lot of good influence seems to have come from him," he said.

"The committee has worked very hard on this," said Christopher. "Their efforts are to be commended."

Although he has yet to meet with the committee to formalize plans, Dupree said he would like to see a ceremony involving committee members and school officials planned for November 7, which is the last home game for the Saranac Lake Redskins.