NASHVILLE — Berrien High’s basketball teams divided tough Region 1-AA games with Thomasville Jan. 25, but the spotlight belonged to another individual.
Between games and after Senior Night recognitions, Berrien named its gymnasium in honor of legendary coach Dona Fields.
At the start of the ceremony, Berrien educator and historian Skeeter Parker called her to the floor, where she was joined by former players.
With BHS principal Angie Lovein and athletic director Doug Nix beside him, Parker recited Fields’ history as an athlete, coach and educator. She holds the single-game school record for points in a game (58) and at over 2,500, the career points mark as well.
As head coach, Fields won state championships in basketball in 1972 and 1975, with the Rebelettes additionally finishing as runners-up in 1973. Her overall mark was 133-11, 50-0 at home.
In 1974, said Parker, the team was 25-2, each loss being by two points. Following her coaching career, Fields moved into administration, becoming principal of elementary schools in Alapaha and Nashville.
“As a player, she was described as sensational, phenomenal, sharpshooting. As a coach, she was recognized by the Georgia Legislature as one of the greatest coaches in the state and the United States. Words and phrases, such as role model, encourager, no one more deserving and impeccable character have been suggested as synonyms for Dona G. Fields,” said Parker. “As a principal, she was called a great leader and a role model and it is said she ran a top ship.”
“I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express my appreciation,” said Fields. She said she was humbled and honored for the gym to be named for her. “Another great memory I’ll have,” said Fields.
During her speech, Fields referred back to the “no gym era” in which she played. Though Berrien opened as a consolidated high school in 1954, a gymnasium was not opened on campus until 1962, after Fields graduated. All of Fields’ wins were at Berrien’s previous gym, which has since been demolished.
“Thank you for being here and supporting me,” she said.
Part of the dedication saw Fields receive an American flag, courtesy of Penny Houston, a Nashville resident who serves in the Georgia House of Representatives.