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ISD 318 Names GRHS Field for Legendary Coach

Mr. D with current teamOn Monday, October 25, the ISD 318 School Board approved naming the GRHS practice football/lacrosse field based on the recommendation of a naming committee that had been assembled. The field will be known as the Tom Drazenovich Field.

Born and raised in Nashwauk, Tom Drazenovich, also known as Mr. D, was an all-around athlete, but football was his primary love. An All-State football player, Drazenovich represented the North team at the 14th Annual All-American High School football game held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas.

After college, Drazenovich returned to the area and began teaching at Grand Rapids High School (GRHS) where he remained a well-loved teacher for over 30 years. During his time in Grand Rapids, Mr. D coached football, basketball and track, leading the teams to many victories over the years. He also established the curriculum in personal fitness and strength conditioning and supported our student-athletes in the weight room.

"We are so pleased to be able to honor an influential member of our community who so selflessly supported our student-athletes," said GRHS Activities Director Anne Campbell. Well-loved by community members, Mr. D’s 1979 football team established the Annual Tom Drazenovich Scholarship to honor him. The award is given each year to a GRHS Football Player who performs well academically and supports the community.

Community members and former football players spearheaded the move to honor Coach Drazenovich. “Mr. D's impact spans generations,” said GRHS teacher and football coach, Greg Spahn. “He is an individual that inspired every student under his care during his career and beyond. Mr. D had a love that connected him to the best and to the most challenging; simply put, he changed lives.”

Mr. D was inducted into the Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Hall of Fame in 2003 and the GRHS Hall of Fame in 2006.

Community members have started a fundraising campaign for a sign for the field. Donations can be made through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation at https://gracf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=2539. “To find an individual that has impacted our school and community more than Mr. D is virtually impossible. This field will honor him, his impact, and his family forever,” said Coach Spahn.