A big fight is brewing in the Edgewood Independent School District after the name of Frank Mata Memorial Stadium was changed without the knowledge of Mata’s widow.
Edgewood ISD spokesman Roland Martinez said the school board took the vote to change the name in January.
"Now it's called Edgewood Veterans Stadium,” Martinez said. “That's as per board policy that the board has the authority to make that decision."
He said the change was made after more than a year of talks and that former athletic directors, including Mata, will be honored in other ways.
"The district is making plans to recognize all those individuals through proper recognition, whether it's plaques or benches or some kind of signage," Martinez said.
But the widow of the man the stadium was named for said the change caught her off-guard.
Irene Mata said in the Edgewood school district, Frank Mata Memorial Stadium has been the site of some memorable football games.
It was named after her late husband, the district's former athletic director, who died suddenly.
She said the plan for memorial benches and plaques is not enough. “I just don't think his name should come down because his name is represented by a memorial," Mata said. “It's a memorial, it's not just a sign, and that's what's important for everyone to know.”
She said she is looking for some kind of compromise with the district to leave the name on the stadium.
"I am pleading with the Edgewood school board,” Mata said. “Please, you know, listen to us. Open up your hearts, open up your minds. We have nothing against the veterans. It's not about us attacking the veterans and disrespecting the veterans. It's about let's compromise."
She plans to bring a big crowd to Tuesday's school board meeting to discuss their concerns.
The Edgewood district did change the name of another facility to honor a veteran.
What used to be Cenizo Park Elementary now honors Roy Cisneros.
However, the name of another individual was not removed for that name change. Edgewood District Veterans says many from the district served their country, and their sacrifices should be remembered in a big way.
In a statement, Victor Mena, president of Edgewood District Veterans, said: “What the Edgewood District Veterans wanted to do is honor the thousands who have served and are serving from the Edgewood District. We did it in a fair and consistent manner over a 15-month period. Surveys showed Edgewood residents were not opposed to it.”
The board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Guerra Center on Herbert Lane.