Parkville High Scoreboard Sparks Controversy

A former principal told school alumni that a new scoreboard would bear the name of a former football coach.

A brand new scoreboard stands at the far end of Parkville High School's football field—a boon for the Knights and their visitors.

However, the scoreboard, which was erected earlier this school year, has angered some Parkville alums because it doesn't display the name of former football head coach Joseph Yates.

They say a former principal said that it would.

Parkville-Overlea Patch first caught wind of the story through the Facebook group "You Know You're From Parkville, Md When ... " where Bobby Gartside, a Parkville High alum and former football player, posted the following:

"The new scoreboard has been installed at Parkville High School. The Alumni was told that 'Yates Field' would be on it. It is not. In fact 'Parkville High School' is overshadowed by the Corporate ad's of a Credit Union, 2 Nursing Homes, Jerry's Auto Group, The Mars Store, White Marsh Mall and last and not least 'Gino's."

Parkville High School named its field in honor of former football coach back in 2009 after a campaign launched by Gartside and Yates' widow, Edmonia.

Yates was the first black head coach in Baltimore County Public Schools.

"I was one of his players and students, I figured all the stuff he’s done in his lifetime he deserves to have his name up there," Gartside said in a telephone interview with Patch.

Gartside explained that when the field was dedicated, now-former principal Stephen Edgar told Patuxent Publishing reporter Jay Thompson that "Later, when the money is available, the school will install Yates’ name on the scoreboard at the very least."

Gartside took Edgar's statement to heart and is now asking for help from area legislators and other Parkville High School alumni to ensure that his former coach's name is proudly displayed.

Current Parkville High School athletic director Jeff Markle told Patch that sponsors whose names and logos appear on the scoreboard covered the entire cost of the project and that there was no other way to get the scoreboard built.

"The athletic department simply couldn't afford a new scoreboard," Markle said.

Markle said that there is, however, a sign dedicating the field in Yates' honor hanging on a building that visitors to the field must walk past.

"It was earlier this year, probably around the second football game that I got it hung," Markle said. "We raised $500 and hung the sign on a well-placed, permanent structure."

Markle said he didn't think that it should be an issue whether the sign honoring Yates was placed on the scoreboard or in a place that "everyone will walk by."

The athletic director also told Patch that he had not been in contact with Gartside or Edmonia Yates about the scoreboard.

Markle also said that he would not be opposed to placing Yates' name on the scoreboard, but he wasn't sure how it would play with county regulations; in order to accomodate Yates' name the scoreboard would have to be made larger.

"I don't know how all that works," Markle said.

Charles Herndon, a spokesman for Baltimore County Public Schools, told Patch that, in his view, this is an issue to be resolved at the local level, between the school and those petitioning for the change and that he hoped "all sides would work to reach an agreeable solution."

Concerned Alumni March 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Good job Mr. Markle in raising the money to get a much needed new scoreboard. If people want more done then they need to be more involved.
Louise & Dave Benach March 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I feel PHS, Mr Markle & the Athletic Department did a super job on the current Yates field signage. You walk down the walkway to the field and you immediately see the "Welcome to Yates" field signage. My son did his Eagle Project at Yates Field and the Boy Scouts all stood under the Yates Sign for the final picture. It's in a great place for the visual recognition it deserves.
Bob Gartside March 15, 2012 at 01:51 PM
You do not have a clue on what you are talking about.Before you make comments, get all the FACTS!
Bob Gartside March 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM
You do not have a clue on what you are talking about.Before you make comments, get all the FACTS!
Bob Gartside March 15, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I was present when Mrs.Joseph Yates gave Parkville High School a check for$10,000.00 dollars. The Administration was asked if the sign could have been payed for by private funds.The Principal said that "Yates Field" would be put on the scoreboard FACT, by them !
F. Lee Bailey March 26, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Well Mr. Gartside if in fact Mr Yates Gave $10000.00 then it sounds to me like some misappropriation of funds has taken place and that just don't look good, may I suggest they take down enough sponsors, pay there money back and properly do what was intended all along or eventually be Court ordered to do so and possible investigation into funds and misappropriation of said funds. It could get ugly and who wins then...
Jim Svrjcek April 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Bob, you have been involved with this from the beginning. I played for Coach Yates in the early '70s and he truly deserves the honor he is being denied (not just for the fact he was the first African-American football coach in Baltimore County, but for the life he lived - truly, an honorable man). Any help I can give in this endeavor, just say. Hopefully, this can be accomplished while his wife can share the honor.
jim maguire May 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM
same old bs.
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