116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Everyone loved Steve Staker, and Steve Staker loved everyone. Almost everyone.
And it's not actually a case of there being someone the late former Coe College football coach didn't particulary care for as much as something.
Staker was not fond of the scoreboard at Clark Field. He hated it, thought it was outdated, didn't think it worked properly, always complained about it.
The genesis of the dislike came way back in 2008, when, at the end of a tense game against Loras, the running scoreboard clock seemed to literally freeze and stop long enough for the Duhawks to get a final play off in which they scored a disputed touchdown to win.
'That scoreboard was a thorn in my dad's side,” laughed Coe head coach Tyler Staker. 'Oh, no, he did not like that scoreboard. It was old, it was run down, parts of it didn't work. Light bulbs would be out and things. He was always complaining about that scoreboard: ‘We need a new one, Tyler. We need to get that thing fixed.'”
Steve Staker died almost a year ago of bladder cancer. When it came time for the family to decide upon the perfect way to memorialize his life, coaching career, influence and legacy, it seemed obvious.
Let's replace that blankety-blank scoreboard with a brand new one. Fans will get to see it Saturday when Coe hosts Dubuque in a football game scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. at Clark Field.
The $200,000 scoreboard/video board is 24 feet by 24 and already been erected and installed to replace the old rudimentary one destroyed in last August's derecho. The words 'Scoreboard In Memory Of Steve Staker” are displayed prominently at the bottom of the board.
'The family, we came up with a $60,000 lead gift to get the project started,” said Tyler Staker, one of five children of Steve and Linda Staker, all Coe grads. 'Then we had a couple of other people provide some lead gifts to really get the project going. The goal of this project is to create the Staker 100, where we would have 100 people donate $1,500 toward the project. I don't know where exactly we are at with the Staker 100. I know a couple of weeks ago, we were halfway there.
'It's a really beautiful board. Video that will help with game-day experience, fan interaction. Graphics that we will pump into there. It is really nice.”
Those interested in being part of the Staker Memorial Project can contact Coe. The school's website has a section to further explain the project.
'Right before the derecho hit, Logan Rickard, who played outside linebacker for us, he and his family own Rickard Sign and Design in Lisbon, and he had made a sign that had a picture of my dad that was put up on a fence right as you enter Clark Field,” Tyler Staker said. 'It said something like ‘You will always be remembered.' So when the derecho hit, we were all at Eby Fieldhouse getting ready for practice. Trees were blowing across campus, things like that. We were looking out the window of Kohawk Arena, and you had light poles down, trees down everywhere ...
'But that sign stayed up. The scoreboard just got absolutely demolished, but my dad's sign stayed up. So I felt like that was dad saying ‘Hey, one way or another, that scoreboard is going. I'm going to make sure we get a new one.'”
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