Naming the MHS Basketball Court to Honor Coach Engle

Naming the MHS Basketball Court to Honor Coach Engle

The Board of Education seeks public feedback regarding a proposal that Mike Faron and Jay Schill have submitted on behalf of Middletown High School parents and Athletic Boosters to name the school’s basketball court the Ron Engle Court. The late Coach Engle was an influential coach and teacher at Middletown High who, before passing away on October 15, 2016, devoted his life to the youth of Frederick County through teaching and sports.

Faron and Schill propose that the words “Ron Engle Court” be permanently affixed as an insignia to the basketball court surface when it is refurbished, a project slated for 2018.  If the naming request is approved, they anticipate a dedication ceremony before the first subsequent home basketball game.

The proposal states that Engle was a 1959 graduate of Frederick High who earned an education degree from Shepherd College in 1963 and began a 33-year teaching career with Frederick County Public Schools. After a year teaching sixth grade at New Midway School, he transferred to teach physical education at New Market Elementary. When Governor Thomas Johnson High School opened, he accepted an offer to teach physical education, coach JV basketball and start the varsity basketball program there. In 1967 he joined the Middletown High School faculty as a physical education teacher and began coaching the boys’ varsity team, a position he held until 1989. During his 22-year tenure as varsity boys’ basketball coach, his teams achieved unprecedented success; they accumulated 337 victories and posted winning records in 20 of 22 seasons. In addition, Coach Engle guided his teams to four state playoffs (finals in 1973 and 1979, and semifinals in 1975 and 1989). His teams also claimed 11 Monocacy Valley Athletic League titles in 22 years. In 1984 he was named Maryland State Athletic Director of the Year, and in 1989 he was inducted into the countywide Alvin G. Quinn Sports Hall of Fame. By the time Coach Engle retired from FCPS in 1996, he had served as Middletown High’s athletic director for 29 years. Later he accepted an invitation to serve as an assistant coach for the girls’ basketball program; this work included assisting Coach Bill Miskell in leading the Lady Knights to the Maryland Class 2A state championship in 2006.

BOE policy allows facilities on school grounds or in school buildings to be named for individuals under certain conditions.  One is to honor distinguished persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the community or county.  A school-based committee is required to review the request and prepare a recommendation for the BOE.  The committee organized for this review included school staff, students and PTSA members, who recommend approval of the “Ron Engle Court.”

MHS Sports Club President William Poffenbarger wrote a letter of support for the naming request, citing Coach Engle’s “influence on the hundreds, if not thousands, of student-athletes he committed countless  hours to helping” and emphasizing that Coach Engle “was known for his compassion, his respect for others, his dedication to helping others, and for being an all-around great person…the embodiment of who people should want to memorialize in their community.”

Others writing letters of support include Coach Engle’s former students, Bob Sheffler, from Middletown’s class of 1969, and Chuck Nichols, class of 1975. Nichols, who teaches at Urbana High, credits Coach Engle as “the main reason why I chose to become a physical education professional and a coach.” Stephanie Hart (MHS class of 2008), Mark Miller (MHS class of 1983) and Coach Engle’s colleague William Miskell Jr. also submitted letters of support.

Board Policy 201.4 and FCPS Regulation 100-6 address procedures for how the BOE may approve naming requests after review of supporting materials and a 30-day public comment period.

The BOE invites the public to email feedback to MHS.Basketball@fcps.org. The public comment period will end on Tuesday, October 31, with discussion to take place at a November BOE meeting.