For more than three decades, Al Merola paced the sidelines at Earl Hadley Stadium, coaching his Solvay High School football team to more than 200 victories.
Now the artificial turf field at what is popularly known as “The Pit” will be named in Merola’s honor during the 2012 football season. The Solvay School Board, on March 19, unanimously approved this decision.
Merola, also a long-time teacher at Solvay High School, passed away in November after a long battle with cancer. He was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
In a letter requesting that Merola be given this honor, Tom Venturini, president of the Solvay Bearcat Pride organization, explained the bond formed between Merola and his community.
“It’s more than likely unnecessary to reiterate here what Coach Merola has meant to so many students at Solvay High School in his 34 years of teaching and coaching,” said Venturini. “Naming the field (for him) would be appropriate.”