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Legendary Buffalo Beale honored

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After a year-long delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the football field at Floyd County High School was formally dedicated with its new name Friday, Sept. 17: Coach Beale Field, for the school’s longstanding and legendary head coach Winfred Beale.

A crowd of current and past Buffalo players, cheerleaders, coaches from other schools, the Director of the Virginia High School League, family and fans gathered at the north end of the field and faced the setting son before the game Friday night.

FCHS head principal Barry Hollandsworth told a story about the coach talking him into running in a long race at a track meet while in high school. Hollandsworth said he was wheezing and soaked in sweat, and came in behind the regular runners and remembered that the coach pulled him aside and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll never ask you to do that again.”

School Superintendent John Wheeler praised Beale for his dedication to his student athletes, the school and the community. Billy Hahn, executive director of VHSL, called the coach a “legend in the Commonwealth and a model for coaches.”

Others who came by to honor Coach Beale included David Turpin, former coach, and player; Dave Christ, former Blacksburg High School coach; Kenny Alderman, former coach at Galas and Brookville and administrator of Radford City Schools, Jeff Highfill, former FCHS coach and longtime coach at William Byrd High School in Vinton and current FCHS athletic director Matt Tomkins.

Some told stories about playing for Coach Beale or against him or just knowing him as an outstanding man and leader. They all praised his commitment and a man who put the safety of his student athletes first and foremost.

Coach Beale closed out the speakers, thanked those who spoke and those who took the time to come visit. He told each that they were always considered part of his family.

“Please know that I love all of you,” he said. “Thank you sharing this day.” Even as game time approached, he posed with the many requests for photo and sharing of memories.

Then the Buffaloes honored him by beating Fort Chiswell for homecoming and their coach.

The name has been up on the scoreboard for some time after the pandemic kept delaying the dedication.

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