Sanford Stadium at Georgia, Infocision Stadium at Akron, Ohio, Bobcat Stadium at Texas State, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium Arkansas, Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn, and Wildcat Stadium at Lovington will have something in common on Friday night.
They will all have a different name for the field from the stadium. Sanford Stadium has Dooley Field, Bobcat Stadium has Jim Wacker Field, and Jordan-Hare Stadium has Pat Dye Field.
So how does Lovington High’s Wildcat Stadium fit into that list? At halftime of the Lovington football game between the Wildcats and Goddard, the school will have a special presentation officially naming the blue turf Brian Urlacher Field.
The name change will honor Lovington alumni, former University of New Mexico football player, a 13-year National Football League linebacker with the Chicago Bears, and a 2018 inductee to the NFL Hall of Fame.
The idea of changing the name of the field in honor of Urlacher came from Lovington principal Pam Quinones and director Robert Arreola. For them this change is not entirely due to Uralcher being a Hall of Famer, but more importantly for all he done and still does for the school district and community. And being an NFL Hall of Famer doesn’t hurt.
“It’s well deserved,” Arreola said. “And we are glad everything fell in place.”
Arreola mentioned the design will be similar to Tom Osborne Field at Memorial Stadium in Nebraska. The only difference is Tom Osborne Field is red on the white line and Brian Urlacher name will be on both sidelines looking at the home and visitor stands near the end zone.
The high school got approval to change the field during the summer. Arreola mentioned the approval was granted some time after Urlacher’s June 5 performance camp. He thanked the support of the district, board, administration, and community in getting the approval.
“Once we presented to them (administration and board) it didn’t take them, it didn’t take them very long to decide,” Arreola said on the voting process. “Very supportive administration and board, they were on board and made it happen.”
Quinones praised the work of Bill Lewis, maintenance director, for working with the turf company to ensure the field will be ready for Friday’s presentation. And she praised Arreola for all the hard work he has done to get the approval and making sure everything is set for the presentation.
Quinones, who helped get the ball rolling on the name change, said both the high school and district believed in the field being renamed in honor of Urlacher for everything he has done.
“Brian has put in so much for our district,” Quinones said. “From purchasing shoes for athletic teams, girls and boys, for a five to 10 year deal.”
She added Urlacher donates to the school anonymously and tries to avoid the limelight when he makes donations to help people or causes.
Former Lovington football head coach Jaime Quinones had the pleasure of coaching Urlacher and experiencing first hand the generosity of his former player.
“Brian always took care of Lovington once he made it into the league,” Jaime Quinones said. “One of the first things he did when he signed his contract with Nike, Lovington football received new cleats and coaching gear for the duration of his career. On one of his contracts he bought shoes for every varsity team for a two to three year period.”
Arreola mentioned the weight room the school has is thanks to Urlacher. Jaime Quinones mentioned he donated about $45,000 for the equipment and the Urlacher Center.
“He never forgot his roots and he always made it a point during his career to take care of Lovington,” Jaime Quinones said.
But more importantly, he inspires children in Lovington to believe and chase their dreams.
“There a lot of kids who are still playing because one of these days they want to be a ‘Brian Urlacher’,” Areola said. “And if we can still get a grasp of that and help them realize that their dreams may come true, that in itself is big. He is a perfect example of what Lovington football is all about.”
Pam Quinones believes the inspiration he brings to all the children in Lovington is a reason he is a perfect role model and a deserving person to have the field named after.
“He’s a great role model,” she said. “He is what you see, see what you get. When you look at the stats of players going to Division 1 programs, then to pro league, and then to the Hall of Fame is astronomical. It’s hard to believe, and I don’t believe many people truly understand it.
“If you strip away the football aspect you will find out he is a phenomenal father, a great husband, and he is just a great all around person. He is as good as they get, and he very humble. Knowing that he has this character is a big deal to honor him, because he is that great of a role model for the younger generation and even older people.”
Pam Quinones said that Urlacher is so well known in the community many call him by his first name. He is such a peoples person that many in Lovington do not realize how big of a deal it is to have a Hall of Famer come from their town and graduate from their school.
Both Pam Quinones and Arreola have been in contact with Urlacher, and both guaranteed he will be present for the halftime ceremony on Friday even if he hates being in the limelight. She did mention he is excited to have the field he played on, being named after him.
“He is very excited. He and his family are very excited for this and he is excited to return to Lovington,” Pam Quinones said.
Both are expecting Wildcat Stadium to be packed on Friday. With the presentation set for halftime, Arreola mentioned the Wildcat and Rocket players are more than welcomed to be there, if the coaches allowed them. He did add if he was a player he would love to be out there because this does not happen everyday.
“It’s going to be a special night,” Arreola said. “And it’s a special night because it’s for Brian. It’s not about anybody else other than Brian. We are happy it’s going to get done and we can finally say ‘This is thanking you for everything you have done for us.’”
Arreola said the presentation will be a celebration to Urlacher as a Wildcat, Lobo, and Bear.
“There are not many towns in America that can say we got a Hall of Famer from our little town,” Arreola said.
For Arreola, Pam Qinones, and Jaime Quinones and others in the community its been long overdue the chance to celebrate someone from the community who had great success and never forgot his home town.
And on Friday, he will be part of the town and high school’s history in another way when the Brian Urlacher Field at Wildcat Stadium becomes official in the second half of the Lovington Goddard game.
Urlacher was unavailable for comment, but is expected to be at the ceremony on Friday.