'Al Laramore Field' Nears Reality


April 05, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Get ready for sports events at Annapolis High School to be played inwhat soon will officially be called Richard G. Ensor Panther Stadium-- Al Laramore Field.

A proposal to name the school's football field after the late coach Al Laramore met little opposition at a Wednesday night meeting of faculty, parents, boosters and others at Annapolis High School, Principal Laura Webb said.

"The meeting went well, and the boosters voted to consider namingit Al Laramore Field pending approval from Mrs. Ensor (now Veronica Ensor King, widow of the late Annapolis principal, Richard, who died in 1984)," said Webb.

"I spoke to Mrs. Ensor this morning (Thursday) regarding that, and she did not see any objection. She felt that Mr. Ensor would probably feel that was a good decision. Therefore, shesupported it and was very pleased that we felt strongly that it would remain Richard Ensor Stadium."

Ensor King said in the Sunday, March 24 Sidelines column, "Our family would not object to adding Mr. Laramore's name to the field, because he was very important to the school and community."

Webb confirmed that sentiment on behalf of thehigh school yesterday morning and expects the addition of Laramore'sname to be officially done in the near future. The vote was near-unanimous pending the approval of Ensor King, which was really thoughtful and highly commendable on the part of the school to discuss it withher.

"The proposal has my support and that of the boosters, and Iwill be presenting it to the CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) and the PTSO (Parent Teachers Students Organization), and I don't expect any opposition from any other groups," said Webb. "I just think it will be accepted."

It's extremely honorable, and the perpetuation of the two names together is very representative of what high school sports means to the overall education system. The two men had a lot in common, although with different styles.

Laramore, who was loud and feisty, poured his heart and soul into Annapolis High School for 25 years, coaching several sports, most notably football for 23 years. Hewas, however, more than a football coach. He was a motivator and molder of character before a fatal heart attack two years ago.

The same can be said of Richard Ensor although in a different light. The former principal, who died after suffering injuries in an auto crash while on the way home from watching Laramore's lacrosse team beat Severna Park, was well respected as an administrator and principal.

After Ensor's death on May 15, 1984, Laramore's lacrosse team dedicated the rest of its season to him. It won the state AA (now 4A) championship in his honor.

While it wasn't uncommon to see Laramore out working on the football field, cutting the grass, etc., it also wasn't uncommon to see Ensor mopping up the gym floor after a basketball game. And when it came to organizing crowd control, no one has ever done it better than Ensor.

"It was Dick who changed the image of our stadium by putting other sports in there," said Annapolis athletic director Fred Stauffer, who rightfully is concerned that putting both names on the complex would dilute the significance of each man's contribution. "Before Mr. Ensor, most people viewed the field as just a football field, but he is the one who put the soccer, field hockey and girls teams in there to play and changed the whole image of our programfor the better."

Stauffer admired both men, but was especially close to Ensor. An athletic program can be blue-ribbon caliber when theprincipal and athletic director respect each other, and that has always been the case at Annapolis with Stauffer.

"I remember when I first went to him and asked if we could put the girls field hockey team in the stadium, and he looked at me and said, 'Stauffer, you know you're going to get me in trouble, but go ahead and do it anyway'," Stauffer said recalled.

The field hockey team always had played on alumpy side field.

"Dick felt that the facility was there to be used by all our athletes, not just football players," said Stauffer. "And no principal today supports athletics the way Mr. Ensor did."

Laramore, like nearly all football coaches worth their salt, tried to make the football field his own private domain and a no-trespassing sign was not needed with his imposing figure.

But he eventually accepted the other teams playing in the stadium because school spirit and all of the kids, not just his football players, were bottom line tohim.

His reason for attempting to own the field was justified in that nobody worked on keeping it in shape more than he did, just as he had done at the old school, now Bates Junior. It's the old school site that Stauffer would like to see Laramore's name attached to rather than the current stadium and field.

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