AKRON – Charlie Smith and Scott Bibler left behind some legacy in regards to the Tippecanoe Valley football program.
Could the field where the two men, who died tragically in a plane crash Friday in South Carolina, someday bear their names as an honor to the outstanding pair of coaches and educators?
There has been discussion on social media fronts since the tragedy about naming the football field Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.
“That is something that could be discussed down the road,” said Tippecanoe Valley Athletic Director Duane Burkhart in a phone interview this afternoon. “There has been no discussion about it yet. I think that it’s too early for that now. But, down the road it certainly could be something that our school board and administration could consider.”
“No one has called me about the idea, but I have seen it talked about on social media.”
Burkhart, who has been a coach and administrator at Valley for the past 32 years, says the field does not have an official name.
“To my knowledge, our field has never been officially named,” Burkhart said. “It’s referenced as Death Valley, but that’s not an official name for it.”
Smith and Bibler were among four men who died Friday when their plane went down en route to the Notre Dame at Clemson football game. Smith, who was a city councilman, owned the was piloting the plane. Also killed in the crash were Smith’s son Scott, a former Valley athlete and highly-respected attorney in Warsaw, along with Sprint Car driver Tony Elliott of Warsaw.
The elder Smith was the first-ever football coach at Valley in 1975. He guided the Vikings to a state championship in 1979 and Bibler was a sophomore player on that team.
Bibler, who was a guidance counselor at TVHS, served as football coach of the Vikings from 1990-2005. He returned as head coach of the team in 2014 before leaving Valley in June of this year to take a position with CrossWinds, an in-home family counseling company.
“Charlie’s legacy continues here,” noted Burkhart. “People around here have the utmost respect for him as both a teacher and a coach.
“Scott was the most genuine person I have ever met. His caring attitude just made people feel better about themselves.
“They were both very well respected and thought of by the Valley community. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of well wishers who I have heard from in the past three days. I think that just speaks volumes about how people thought about them.”