In a pre-game ceremony on Monday, April 25, McCallie’s varsity baseball facility was named the Kenny Sholl Stadium in honor of former coach and Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl, and the two dugouts were named in honor of two other former coaches, Bill Eiselstein and Hank Hopping.
A large number of former baseball players were on hand for the festivities that were held prior to the McCallie-Baylor game. The three honorees threw out ceremonial first pitches to officially begin play in the newly named facility.
Here are comments by Head of School Lee Burns:
On behalf of the McCallie Board of Trustees, the administration, faculty, and the McCallie community of alumni, parents, students, and friends, it is my honor to welcome you as we officially dedicate this refurbished facility. This is now named the Kenny Sholl Stadium by the generosity of McCallie alumnus JV Kodali, class of 1988, and his wife Lara Marcon. We are also here to recognize two other longtime McCallie men and varsity baseball coaches, Bill Eiselstein and Hank Hopping and their families and to name the dugouts in their honor.
JV and his wife are not able to make this event due to family obligations, but JV wanted to send this message to Coach Sholl. Kenny, this is from JV directly …
Since my family and I became involved in this project to renovate the baseball field and honor Coach Sholl I have been reflecting on his impact on me and many others at McCallie. I have asked myself - what does it mean to be a great coach? I think it means you are a motivator, leader, disciplinarian, mentor and an example to others around you. Coach Sholl embodies all those characteristics in spades. In my recent conversations with Coach Sholl he has on more than one occasion insisted that I call him Ken or Kenny. I just cannot bring myself to do it. He will always be a “Coach” to me. He is a standard I hope to live up to as a dad, member of the McCallie community and as a person. I can think of no other person who deserves this honor more, and my family and I are proud that we can make this small gesture relative to all the good he has done and lives he has impacted in such a positive way.
Kenny – or should I say, “Coach Sholl” – you have served and continue to serve McCallie nobly and honorably and I know that JV’s remarks reflect the feelings of thousands of McCallie men who have been fortunate to have you as a teacher, coach, and administrator.
From the day you arrived on campus in 1983 with your reputation as a great high school and college baseball player – in fact, a state championship in high school, all-SEC Academic Team and All-Southern Conference in college – you have worn a lot of hats at McCallie, and you have worn all of them well – math teacher, department head, dean of students, upper school head, associate head, and, since 2015, assistant head of school – you have served and continue to serve McCallie so honorably and faithfully. But of all of these hats that you’ve worn, I suspect you are most proud of that baseball coach’s hat. Like all the other hats, it fits you well.
So it is with great pleasure that at this moment and on behalf of all of the McCallie community, we name this facility the Kenny Sholl Stadium.
Additionally, the third base dugout is named for 45-year teacher and coach, Bill Eiselstein who led the 1976 Blue Tornado to become state champions, and his years of service to McCallie as a coach, teacher, administrator, mentor and friend. His character exemplifies Honor, Truth and Duty.
The first base dugout is named in honor of Hank Hopping, who has served as McCallie’s head baseball coach, dorm head and dorm advisor. Coach Hopping has taught in the English department since 1987, was Dean of Students, and has served as principal of the Upper School since 2016.
Mr. Burns also presented the three with a drawing by Mark Wiedmer '76 commemorating the occasion (see photo below). Mr. Wiedmer, a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, wrote an impressive column about the event: It can be found here.
The podcast that is referenced in the column, in which the three honorees share baseball stories and memories, can be found here. It is part of McCallie’s Stories from the Ridge podcast series.
Photos from the event can be found here.