The USD 480 Board of Education voted 6-0 Monday night to add the name Gary Cornelsen Sports Complex to Redskin Field, the track, the practice fields, and the weight room. The name "Redskin Field" will remain at the tradition rich edifice. The district will invite Cornelsen back for a ceremony at a date to be announced. The naming comes at no cost to the district and private funds will be raised for the project. USD 480 Board of Education President Reid Petty says it's been a long time coming.
"I am thrilled to see this finally happening. It is along time coming for Coach Gary Cornelsen being honored for all he did for Liberal High School and the community of Liberal. He is a winner who helped shape winners in not just athletics, but also life. I can't wait for Coach to return to Liberal to be honored. Earl Watt also deserves a big thank you for volunteering to raise the funds necessary to pay for the name addition that will take place at the entry way of Redskin Field. It is so great that something so good can happen at no cost to the district."
It is safe to say his accomplishments will never be matched. Gary Cornelsen was the head coach for 29 of Liberal's 34 state championships. He coached the LHS boys track and field teams to a dizzying 14 consecutive state titles from 1991-2004 and the girls won 10 of 11 state championships from 1994-2004 (Salina Central won state in 2002). His football Redskins won state four times in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1997. They went to seven straight state championship games from 1991-1997. His record from 1991-2001 and 2003 was 118-17.
Cornelsen is currently the head track coach and assistant football coach at Amarillo Tascosa.