Not only will the Tiger Cubs' annual Purple and Gray game mark the beginning of the Josh Buis era as head football coach, but the day will see the dedication of the football field itself as John Fallis Field.
The Fallis Field dedication program is scheduled to begin about 2:45 p.m. Saturday at the main entrance to Robert L. Harbison Stadium (after the annual GHS public picture day session, which begins at 1 p.m.).
The ceremony will include the dedication of a brick and metal archway leading to the playing surface that will become known as John Fallis Field.
A fundraising effort undertaken earlier this year by players coached by Fallis during his 20 years as GHS head coach (and three more as an assistant) has resulted in creation of the archway monument in his honor.
The archway design is made to look like half of a football displayed horizontally with "John Fallis Field" and his four cherished ideals of Discipline, Commitment, Enthusiasm and Effort displayed below the laces.
Beneath all that will be a purple line. That is indicative of Fallis' fundamental rule that the moment he or his players crossed the purple line onto the field, whether it was game night or just practice, they were to be all business.
Greencastle Assistant Principal Russ Hesler, who served as an assistant coach under Fallis, cherishes his own 22-year relationship with Fallis as friend, neighbor and fellow teacher.
"That archway gave me goose bumps," Hesler said as he recalled helping set the 17 x 14-foot archway in place recently. "I was sweating, but I had goose bumps.
"It has been really neat to see it all move to fruition," Hesler added. "I really like it."
Plans are for Robert Sedlack and John Hecko, both of whom played for Fallis, to address the gathering. Hesler will speak for the coaches and teachers, and then Fallis is expected to make a few remarks.
Fallis' overall GHS record was 121-81 with three undefeated regular seasons, 1985, 1991 and 1995. He won five conference championships at Greencastle and was inducted in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Fallis retired from coaching after leading Hagerstown High School for a second time last season. Overall his career coaching record was 195-141 with 33 years as a head coach and 10 as an assistant.
After the dedication of the field, the Purple and Gray game is due to start at 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission will be a donation of soap and towels, making it a true old-school soap-and-towel game, Hesler suggested.
Later, GHS fans, friends and alumni are invited to a 2011 season kickoff party Saturday evening at the Inn at DePauw. The 6-11 p.m. event will feature live music, a silent auction and cash bar. Tickets are $5 at the door (dress is casual and everyone must be 21 to enter).
Some of the silent auction items include a Reggie Wayne practice jersey, a flat-screen TV, Blu-Ray player, iPhone 4, a Katie Douglas autographed Indiana Fever jersey, four front-row tickets to a Fever game. Larry Bird-autographed items, along with Colts, Pacers, Indianapolis Indians and Cubs tickets.
Former players, friends, admirers, students of John Fallis' math classes and anyone else can still make tax-deductible contributions to the project by making checks payable to GHS with "Fallis Field" in the memo line. Plans are to add benches and picnic tables to the area near the archway.
Checks can be sent to Hesler (with more information at firstname.lastname@example.org) in care of Greencastle High School, 910 E. Washington St., Greencastle, IN 46135. Credit card donations will be accepted through the GHS bookstore. (email@example.com) or by calling 653-9711, Ext. 209.