This column is directed mostly to the members of the Winslow School Board and the Winslow School District and High School administrations. It is, however, of interest to the sports fans of Winslow High School.
Winslow High School will be hosting the Winslow Winter Classic Girls’ Basketball Tournament next week. This event, which quickly became one of the most prestigious girls’ basketball tournaments in the Southwest, was the brainchild of Winslow girls’ basketball coach and Athletic Director Don Petranovich.
It is a virtual certainty that this tournament would have never come into being if not for the hard work and dedication of Petranovich who sold the idea to local merchants and sponsors and coaches and administrators of the many fine teams that have attended this event for nearly three decades.
Petranovich has also put Winslow on the map by becoming the dean of all girls’ basketball coaches. His teams have won over 600 games and barely lost over 100. There are no basketball coaches who would not envy a record of having won six of every seven games over nearly 30 years of coaching.
It was largely through the efforts of Petranovich that Winslow built the gymnasium that sets behind Emil Nasser Stadium and in front of the new Winslow High School. Having that facility has enabled Winslow to host more than its share of regional tournaments as well as the Winslow Winter Classic and the just completed Winslow Ford Shootout Boys’ Basketball Tournament. The Doc Wright Invitational Wrestling Tournament will also be held in that gymnasium in January.
The Winslow Winter Classic would appear to me to present the perfect time to honor Petranovich for his enviable career and his contributions to the Winslow School System and the community.
The perfect honor would be to name the gymnasium he is primarily responsible for “The Don Petranovich Gymnasium.” He has earned the honor.
Winslow has honored many citizens by naming facilities after them. We have Vargas Field, a baseball field on which Congressional Medal of Honor winner Junior Vargas performed as a youngster before joining the marines and becoming a national hero.
We have Emil Nasser Stadium named after one of the most successful high school coaches ever. Both men are still alive and able to enjoy the honor bestowed upon them.
Petranovich should live to see the gymnasium named after him and to see teams he is coaching perform there.
This could be quite an event. Hundreds of former players would probably want to attend and pay their respects to their coach. Colleagues and rival coaches will also likely join the celebration.
If time is too short to get this done during the Winslow Winter Classic, then it should become a priority to get the arrangements made to have the dedication during January or during the 3A North Regional Tournament, which will be held in Winslow.
Don Petranovich has earned this honor, ladies and gentlemen; let’s not delay bestowing it any longer than is absolutely necessary.