by JULIE B. MAGLIO
On Nov. 5. the Brooksville City Council approved the renaming of E. North Ave to Ernie Chatman Run in honor of the beloved coach who passed away in July of 2016.
Chris Bernhardt Jr., Hernando Sun’s sports reporter at the time, wrote,
“Ernie Chatman ran for 8,814 straight days and compiled more than 700 coaching victories. But the amount of lives he touched? That number is countless.
Well, perhaps only he could recall the exact total, as he seemingly could every single detail of the past six decades of Hernando County athletics.“
Since his passing, the community has honored his memory in many ways, including an annual Ernie Chatman 5k Run, naming him 2017 Great Brooksvillian and dedicating the field at Tom Varn Stadium to Chatman- now it is called Ernie Chatman Field. A monument on the field reads,
“Coach Chatman was strategic, but bold; tough, but kind-hearted; stoic, but nurturing; and humble, but proud…a one-of-a-kind coach.”
Weeki Wachee High School Cross Country Coach Patrick Skipper initiated the renaming of E. North Avenue to Ernie Chatman Run and organized a fundraiser for replacing the marquee plates on the Hernando High sign to reflect the school’s new address.
He remarked on social media, “When I started my mission of renaming E North Ave to Ernie Chatman Run, and ultimately readdressing Hernando High School to the Ernie Chatman Run street name, I was asked to cover any expenses through fundraising. Originally we decided that the costs were very minimal and the school would incur those expenses. At the last minute we noticed that the Marquee has the street address on it. It is a double sided message that will need to be replaced to show the new address. The cost of the 2 new plates is $1700. We have had a lot of support for this project. We can meet this goal in no time at all with a little support from a few people. Any amount would be appreciated. Any additional funds will be donated to the Hernando High Hall of Fame account.”
The goal of Skipper’s online fundraiser was to raise $1700 and a total of $2020 was raised.
The new address for Hernando High will be 111 Ernie Chatman Run. Officially, the street name changes to Ernie Chatman Run on Dec. 6 at 12:01 am, but it is unclear when the new Hernando High School address will take effect.
Skipper says that they are working on a dedication for the new sign plates to take place Dec. 8 before the Christmas parade.